Barriers to preventive care utilization among Hong Kong community-dwelling older people and their views on using financial incentives to improve preventive care utilization

Qiuyan Liao, Wingyan Lau, Sarah McGhee, Maurice Yap, Rita Sum, Jun Liang, Jinxiao Lian

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Background: Financial incentive is increasingly used as a mean to promote preventive care utilization (PCU), but the current Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme (EHCVS) in Hong Kong is ineffective for encouraging PCU. Objective: To explore the older people's barriers to PCU and their views on financial incentive, including EHCVS, for improving private PCU. Design and setting: Focus-group discussions were conducted in community elderly centres located in five districts of Hong Kong. Participants: Community-dwelling older people aged 60 years or above. Results: Lack of understanding about preventive care and low awareness of the need for preventive care were key factors for the low motivation for PCU. Uncertainty over the level of service fee charged and concerns over service quality hindered the choice of using the private service providers under the current EHCVS. Financial incentives specific for preventive care services were thought to be cues to actions and guides for service promotion. However, some flexibility in service coverage and a set time limit of the financial incentives were preferred to accommodate individual needs. Conclusions: Apart from promoting knowledge of preventive care, official monitoring for service fee and quality is important for empowering older people to choose private service providers for preventive care. Financial incentives for preventive care services should be more specific to cue service promotion and uptake of preventive care while maintaining flexibility to accommodate individual needs. Patient or public contribution: Participants were recruited using purposive sampling with the coordination of community elderly centres. Data were analysed using thematic coding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242-1253
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • barrier
  • financial incentive
  • older people
  • preventive care
  • qualitative study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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