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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2017

The impact of healthcare reform on the efficiency of public county hospitals in China

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2017
Shuai Jiang, Rui Min, Peng-qian Fang



The new round of Healthcare Reform in China has implemented over 3 years since 2009, and promoted greatly the development of public county hospitals. The purpose of this study is to evaluate county hospitals efficiency before and after the healthcare reform, and further assess the reform effectiveness through the comparative analysis of the efficiency.


Data envelopment analysis (DEA) was employed to calculate the efficiency of 1105 sample hospitals which were selected from 31 provinces of China, also, Tobit regression was used to regress against those main external environmental factors.


Our results show that the scales and amounts of service of hospitals had increased sharply, however, the efficiency was relatively low and decreased slightly from 2008 to 2012. Thirteen (1.18%) in 2008 and six (0.54%) hospitals in 2012 were defined as technically efficient, and the average scores were 0.2916 and 0.2503. The technical efficiency average score of the post-reform was significantly less than that of the pre-reform (p < 0.001), and the score of eastern region was highest and the western was lowest among three regions of China.


It suggests the reform had not well improved county hospital efficiency although hospitals have reached a fair developing scale, and the corresponding policies and measures should be put into effect for improving efficiency, especially in the level and structure of health investment, operation and supervision mechanism of county hospitals.
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