The Chinese health care system has experienced profound changes like retrenchment of state financial support in the past decades. These changes have prompted the Chinese media and some academics to suggest that patients have a relatively low level of trust in physicians in today's China. In this colloquium, Dr. Tam reports the results of his survey of patient trust in physicians in Beijing's public hospitals. The survey was conducted by Horizon Research Group between November 2009 and January 2010, and 434 patients were interviewed.
The survey asked the respondents their degree of trust regarding the following three dimensions: physician agency, competence, and information provision. The survey finds a relatively high level of patient trust in physicians in Beijing public hospitals. Additionally, the survey data highlight three major determinants of patient trust in physicians, namely exposure to negative media reports about physicians and hospitals; the patient's self-assessed health status; and the patient’s level of education and income.
Waikeung Tam received his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Chicago in 2009. He is currently a Research Fellow at the LKY School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. His research focuses on public policy, political development, law and society, with special reference to China and Hong Kong. His research has been published in China Review, Asian Perspective, Journal of Contemporary Asia, and Law & Social Inquiry.