Int J Equity Health 2017 01 11;16(1):10. Epub 2017 Jan 11.
The Research Center for Medicine and Social Development, Collaborative Innovation Center of Social Risks Governance in Health, School of Public Health and Management, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, 400016, China.
Background: With the depth development of health care system reform in China, emergency medical services (EMS) is confronted with challenges as well as opportunities. This study aimed to analyze the equity of China's EMS needs, utilization, and resources distribution, and put forward proposal to improve the equity.
Method: Three emergency needs indicators (mortality rate of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, harm, and digestive system disease), two utilization indicators (emergency outpatient visits and rate of utilization) and one resource allocation indicator (number of EMS facilities) were collected after the review of the China Statistical Yearbook and the National Disease Surveillance System. Next, EMS related indicators were compared among 31 provinces from the eastern, central, and western regions of the country. Concentration Index (CI) were used to measure the equity of EMS needs and utilization among the western, central, and eastern regions. The Gini coefficient of demographic and geographic distribution of facilities represented the equity of resource allocation.
Result: During 2010-2014, the CI of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease mortality changed from positive to negative, which indicates that the concentrated trend transferred from richer regions to the poorer area. Injury mortality (CI: range from - 0.1241to -0.1504) and digestive disease mortality (CI: range from - 0.1921 to - 0.2279) consistently concentrated in the poorer region, and the inequity among regions became more obviously year-by-year. The utilization of EMS (CI: range from 0.1074 to 0.0824) showed an improvement; however, the inequity reduced gradually. The EMS facilities distribution by population (Gini coefficient: range from 0.0922 to 0.1200) showed high equitability but the EMS facilities distribution by geography (Gini coefficient: range from 0.0922 to 0.1200) suggested a huge gap between regions because the Gini coefficients were greater than 0.5 in the past 5 years.
Conclusion: There are some inequities of needs, utilization, and resource allocation in the China EMS. The government needs to stick to the principle of increasing investment in poorer regions, perfecting ambulance configuration and improving health workers' professional skills to improve the equity and quality of EMS.