Background Public hospitals in China play an important role in tuberculosis (TB) control. Three models of hospital and TB control exist in China. The dispensary model is the most common one in which a TB dispensary provides both clinical and public health care. The specialist model is similar to the former except that a specialist TB hospital is located in the same area. The specialist hospital should treat only complicated TB cases but it also treats simple cases in practice. The integrated model is a new development to integrate TB service in public hospitals. Patients were diagnosed, treated and followed up in this public hospital in this model while the TB dispensary provides public health service as case reporting and mass education. This study aims to compare patient care seeking pathways under the three models, and to provide policy recommendation for the TB control system reform in China.
Methods Six sites, two in each model, were selected across four provinces, with 293 newly treated uncomplicated TB patients being randomly selected.
Results The majority (68%) of TB patients were diagnosed in hospitals. Patients in the integrated model presented the simplest care seeking pathways, with the least number of providers visited (2.2), shortest treatment delays (2 days) and the least medical expenditure (2729RMB/401USD). On the contrary, patients in the specialist model had the highest number of provider visits (4), longest treatment delays (23 days) and the highest medical expenditure (11626RMB/1710USD). Logistic regression suggested that patients who were hospitalised tended to have longer treatment delays and higher medical expenditure.
Conclusion Specialist hospitals treating uncomplicated cases not using the standard regimens posed a threat to TB control. The integrated model has shortened patient treatment pathways, and reduced patient costs; therefore, it could be considered as the direction for future reform of China’s TB control system.
Wei XiaoLin; Zou GuanYang; Jia Yin; Walley, J.; Qiang Sun. Comparing patient care seeking pathways in three models of hospital and TB programme collaboration in China. BMC Infectious Diseases (2013) 13 (1) 93 pp. [DOI: 10.1186/1471-2334-13-93]