Background: Issues related to the satisfaction of the elderly population towards health and medical services have become an increasing social concern in China, under the influence of individuals, medical institutions and social factors, the structural contradictions of the elderly population’s demand in terms of medical and health services are very prominent. This study seeks to assist in the resolution of issues faced by the elderly when dealing with their medical needs and improve the quality of medical services in megacities in China.
Methods: This study analyses the difference in behaviour of the elderly towards medical treatment in Shanghai based on 625 questionnaires. The investigation mainly includes five parts: personal information, health status, elderly person’s medical preference and expectation, satisfaction towards hospitals and medical services, and medical insurance mode and the level of success from use. The study uses Multinomial logistic regression to investigate the influencing factors.
Results: To the elderly group in Shanghai, their medical treatment behaviors based on rational choices around price, demand and supply of medical services. The stratification of medical services based on the economic and social characteristics of the elderly population is obvious. Overall, our results show that, firstly, factors such as age, marriage status, relationship, residential location and medical treatment distance have great impacts on the elderly population’s medical treatment choices. Secondly, Chinese elderly people rely heavily on family support. Thirdly, medical treatment behaviour has a distance friction effect: the closer to hospital, the stronger the tendency to choose. Fourthly, Shanghai and other big Chinese cities are in the stage of population suburbanization, but the allocation of public service resources, such as medical, health and education, still presents a strong centripetal agglomeration in space.
Conclusions: The study further contributes to public resource distribution and justice between different groups of people in the context of social stratification. while strengthening the reform of medical marketization and improving the efficiency of supply of scarce medical products, the Chinese government should also strengthen the reform of system design and strengthen the total supply and structural balance of geriatric care, especially the weak geriatric products.