chapter  5
18 Pages

The state of medical professionalism in China: Past, present, and future


China faces a major challenge to create an institution for the medical profession that will serve its dual responsibilities-to patients and to societyand will balance its responsibilities with its own self-interest. These responsibilities often conflict with one another, particularly in a market economy where professionals must compete and sell their services to earn incomes. At the same time, it is particularly difficult to police the professional practices of physicians because they render numerous and varied services. Physicians render several billions of diagnoses and treatments annually that are impossible to monitor and regulate. This chapter examines medical professionalism in China, its evolution over time, and the challenges it faces against the backdrop of the changing social values, institutions, and incentives.