Managers in the publicly funded health services in China - characteristics and responsibilities

Liang, Zhanming, Blackstock, Felicity C., Howard, Peter, Liu, Chaojie, Leggatt, Goeffrey, Ma, Hongkun, Zhang, Zhijun, and Bartram, Timothy (2020) Managers in the publicly funded health services in China - characteristics and responsibilities. BMC Health Services Research, 20 (1). 721.

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Background: Health service managers are integral to supporting the effective and efficient delivery of services. Understanding their competencies is essential to support reform and improvement of healthcare provision in China. This paper examines the characteristics and educational background of senior managers working in the community health and hospital sectors in China. We also examine their levels of commitment to continued professional development and continuous education.

Methods: A self-administered paper-based questionnaire was administered to 477 level I, II and III managers in community health services and public hospitals in China. The response rate was over 80%.

Results: Findings demonstrate significant differences in terms of educational background and commitment to ongoing professional development between the managers in China across levels of management, and between the community and hospital sectors. Hospital managers tend to be older; hospital managers at higher management levels are predominantly male but predominantly female in the community health services. A greater proportion of hospital managers have postgraduate qualifications. In addition, the participants identified specific management tasks that they considered important.

Conclusions: This is the first large scale study examining the educational background and commitment to professional development of senior health service managers in China. This study determined that there are differences between the demographics of managers in China across levels of management, but more importantly between the CHC and the hospital sectors. The identification of important managerial tasks will facilitate the development of appropriate education and training for Chinese healthcare managers. All sectors and levels reported the need for informal education focussed on the core roles of developing organisation image and public relations, improving quality and safety of service provision and provision of leadership. Further research to explore the underlying reasons for the above differences is needed to design appropriate professional development for China's health services managers. In addition, the importance of managerial tasks across sectors and management levels requires further investigation.

Item ID: 68165
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1472-6963
Keywords: Chinese public health system, Educational background, Health service managers, Managerial tasks, Training needs
Copyright Information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Funders: La Trobe University
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2021 06:07
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420306 Health care administration @ 30%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420309 Health management @ 30%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420311 Health systems @ 40%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280112 Expanding knowledge in the health sciences @ 100%
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