How Will Health Care Design in China Be Impacted by Social and Health Policies, and Demographic and Population Health Trends?

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What is the Aim


Much has been written about China’s health care system and the strides it has made in public health, but less attention has been paid to the physical environments this progress has made within. There is a lack of coherent information regarding China’s health policies and demographic trends as they relate to the design of health care environments. Health care design is inextricably linked to the achievement of government targets in public health and should be taken as seriously as improvements in education, funding and human resources.


This report aims to provide key areas of focus for the planning and design of health care facilities in China to ensure that facilities designed and built in the coming years can cope with existing and future challenges as well as actively contribute to the achievement of government health goals.

What We Did


Data and information from publicly available government policy documents and national health statistics, reports and data from international non-government organisations, and journal articles regarding contemporary conditions in China’s health care system were compiled and analysed.


Data and information were collated to form a clear story of China’s current health care market and population health as well as aims for them in the coming years in relation to the design of health care facilities in the country. Although the government publishes annual statistics, it is not always clear how the figures have been reached and the years for comparison are not always consistent. Meanwhile, some publications provided more detail regarding how the statistics were calculated than others. This meant that the author used as many documents as possible to gather trend data on various health statistics.

What We Found


Four key impact areas emerged from the study: the urban-rural divide and the HuKou; health insurance and current health policy; the One Child Policy and demographics; and the end of the One Child Policy relating to the care of women and children. From each of these key impact areas two design recommendations or opportunities were extracted: urbanization requiring growth and flexibility in health care; a focus on health care environments improving rural health; improving the patient-doctor interaction through waiting design; impacts of prioritising primary health on facility requirements; elderly population’s needs from design; need for China specific elderly care typologies; impact of LDR design on cesarean section rate targets; and paediatric design considering shifting family structures.


The results are presented in the form of  a written report supported by graphs, tables and other graphics to visually represent data and conclusions. 

What the Findings Mean


HKS is a global firm working all over the world, including in China’s health care market. It will be beneficial to designers and planners to understand problems and opportunities that exist in the health care market in 2019, and those that might develop over the next decades, to ensure that the facilities we design today continue to serve users’ needs and government objectives for years to come.


This knowledge, and further knowledge built from this report, will enable designers to directly contribute to the achievements of public health targets in China. 

Team Members 

  • Sophie Crocker


  • Health Fellowship


HKS is a team of more than 1,400 architects, interior designers, urban designers, scientists, artists, anthropologists and other professionals working together across industries and across the globe to create places that delight, heal and stimulate peak performance. The firm has nurtured a culture of extraordinary people with curious and creative minds who are passionate about delivering elegant solutions. HKS has a dedicated research team that digs deep to discover processes and ideas that improve outcomes for everyone. In everything HKS does, it is mindful of the fragility of all life and of the planet.