Use of appropriate healthcare technologies: a cross-sectional study in rural Zhejiang of China
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Abstract Background Appropriate healthcare technologies (AHTs) are an important strategy for improving the availability and accessibility of healthcare services. It is not clear what impact AHTs have on health workers and consumers; and whether those AHTs can continue in place without special or ongoing financial support. This study investigated the attitudes of health workers and consumers towards AHTs. Methods Health facilities from five counties in Zhejiang were surveyed. Participants of the study included all health workers who were involved in the delivery of AHTs in the selected organizations and a group of randomly selected patients who sought services from the participating organizations. A total of 822 questionnaires from health workers and 693 questionnaires from patients were collected for data analyses. The questionnaires measured perceptions and attitudes of respondents towards AHTs using a Likert scale. Results The respondents delivering public health services rated the highest scores to AHTs (4.42 ± 0.7), followed by those engaged in management of chronic conditions (4.41 ± 0.57) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) (4.29 ± 0.55). Around 90 % of health workers believed that AHTs were meaningful for rural patients; however, only 69 % of health workers believed that the technologies encouraged by the government were sufficiently developed or “mature”, and more than 24 % acknowledged difficulties in using those technologies. Overall, patients were satisfied with AHTs, with 71.6 % feeling “very satisfied” or “satisfied”, 24.2 % feeling “acceptable” and 1.6 % feeling “dissatisfied”. Most (83 %) patients were satisfied or very satisfied with Traditional Chinese Medicine, compared with management of chronic conditions (80 %), family planning (67 %), public health services (64 %), and finally with maternal and child health care (59 %). Conclusions Local acceptability should be taken into consideration in determination of AHTs; consumer health literacy needs improvement, particularly in relation to public health and preventive services.