Main Topic: Choice Factors of TCM vs Western Medical Treatment

Hosts: Clyde Warden

When Clyde and James got together to record this show, they got talking about online sampling methodology, something Clyde has lots of experience in. A bit off the TCM topic, that show turned into research show 40, while this research show finishes up our TCM emphasis. Clyde goes over the a quantitative study of the factors that influence medical clinic choice among Chinese consumers. More importantly, he looks at the influence the question frame has on the expectations. If you are interested in quantitative studies of consumer attitudes, this is the show for you.

This research show and the next one (Show 40) go together and wrap up our series on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Survey Work
Researchers Sending Survey Gifts
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been an integral part of prevailing practice and belief system throughout Chinese history. Originally not included in Taiwan’s national insurance program, public outcry forced its inclusion as consumers demanded a choice between medical paradigms. Rather than fading, TCM is experiencing increasing demand in Taiwan after years of modernization in the medical sector and widespread Western high-technology medical availability. Assumptions that traditional and religious-related medical beliefs would fade in the face of modernity and Western medical marketing practices have been challenged in Taiwan.

There is noticeable lack of research on how consumers consider choice factors toward TCM and Western medicine hospitals/clinics. This research explored consumer expectations of the treatment experiences and how those expectations were influenced by actual experience and question framing. Survey data collected over the Web from 469 respondents in Taiwan. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to test the relationship between experience and question framing across TCM and Western medicine choice factors.

An interaction of question framing and past medical experience revealed consumers with experience in both medical domains, actually reported lower expectations of reservations systems, medical staff service quality, clinic reputation, and servicescapes in the TCM setting. Survey results combined with field observations show that Chinese cultural values play an important role in the ability of consumers to change their expectations, compared with Western values of standardized expectations.

MANOVA is the main method used here, which is simple statistically, but can answer almost all your research questions when comparing groups. The simple approach to analysis can often have the biggest payoff!

The frame of the question you ask can influence the expectations of the treatment . . . illusions of modernity.

Document Downloads:

Download: Factors Influencing Expectations of Medical Treatment PowerPoint Presentation

Download: Factors Influencing Expectations of Medial Treatment Report (A VERY rough draft)

The Show:

Length: 36 minutes. Download MP3 17.97MB (Right click->Save As).

Research Design Figures:

Show Links:

Bottom Line:

  • The largest group of users are dual users--both TCM and Western.
  • Exclusive TCM use is very low.
  • Exclusive Western use is a large segment.
  • A quantitative approach easily gives insights into the complex interaction of experience and question frame.
  • Questions framed with Western medical treatment inflate expectations.
  • TCM and dual users have generally consistent expectations.
  • Exclusive Western medical users have lower expectations of TCM.
  • Simply asking about "medical treatment" would never have uncovered the different frames.
  • Marketers need to be careful about assumptions of modernity--the influence can be misleading.

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