Hong Kong Med J 2010;16:106–15 | Number 2, April 2010
The concepts of family doctor and factors affecting choice of family doctors among Hong Kong people
Albert Lee, Sam Siu, Augustine Lam, Clement Tsang, Kenny Kung, Philip KT Li
School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVES. To identify concepts including misconceptions among the community members regarding family doctors, and determine factors affecting decisions on which doctor to consult in different clinical scenarios.
DESIGN. Household telephone survey conducted between 4 and 13 September 2006.
SETTING. Hong Kong community.
PARTICIPANTS. Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 18 years or more were targeted. Randomly selected participants were asked to complete a questionnaire, which was designed based on a literature search and subsequent focus group discussions.
RESULTS. Among the 1811 households with eligible subjects to survey, 1204 completed the questionnaire (response rate, 67%). More than 85% considered a family doctor to be the first doctor they wanted to see even if it was inconvenient. "Clearly knowing my physical conditions", "fast-acting and effective treatment", and "doctor with friendly and sincere attitude" were the three most important factors influencing the choice of a family doctor. When affected by flu-like symptoms, 65% would go to a private clinic, 20% to a general out-patient clinic, 6% to a designated clinic with staff approved by their respective medical insurance/ medical benefit scheme, and 5% to a private hospital outpatient clinic. Among the latter two groups, 65% consulted the same doctor every time when they felt sick. More than 50% of those willing to have regular follow-up by a family doctor for hypertension and diabetes paid more than HK$300 per month. Approximately 64% might consider having regular follow-up at a general out-patient clinic by a nurse specialist.
CONCLUSION. Hong Kong inhabitants already have their own ideas regarding how to care for their own health, and what kind of family doctors they prefer. This survey should help both doctors and health care policy makers to realign their current thinking, and thus provide a platform for the development of a primary care model unique to Hong Kong.
Key words: Clinical competence; Patient satisfaction; Physician-patient relations; Physicians, family; Quality indicators, health care
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