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Med Acpunct 2020 Oct 1;32(5):310-319. doi: 10.1089/acu.2020.1439. Epub 2020 Oct 19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33101576/

Estimated Number of Acupuncture Practitioners in Mainland China in 2018: Multiperspectives

Arthur Yin Fan 1 2Deguang He 1 3Sherman Gu 4 5Haihe Tian 1 6Hui Ouyang 1 7Hui Wei 1 8Changzhen Gong 1 9Sarah Faggert Alemi 1 10Xiaoyin Zhao 11

Abstract

Background and Objective: Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are widespread, practiced in >183 countries and regions. As such, it has played an important role in the world health care system. However, there are no official statistics available on the number of acupuncture practitioners in China. The aim of this study is to calculate the number ranges of acupuncture practitioners in China in 2018. Materials and Methods: In total, 33.708 million was used as the total number of patient visits for acupuncture in 2018 in China. This number was calculated using the data released by the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (China), in which the average daily workload of all acupuncture practitioners in China was 134,832 patient visits. Acupuncture practitioners in China are part of Chinese Medicine doctors (CMDs) at the physician level, called “acupuncture doctors.” This number 134,832 was divided by the workload of a single doctor of acupuncture, which was 19.4 or 7.0 patient visits per day. These numbers were from a survey by the authors. There are also the numbers 16.0 or 9.4 patient visits per day; these numbers were calculated from the salary level of acupuncture practitioners at 10,000 Yuan per month (providing the doctor’s net income was 30% or 50% in his/her gross income). From these 2 sources, the authors then obtained 2 sets of ranges of acupuncture practitioners in China in 2018. There were 9,927 CMDs in 49 big hospitals, of which 619 were acupuncture practitioners; the ratio of acupuncture practitioners to the whole of all CMDs was 6.23%. Using this ratio multiplied by the whole number of CMDs in 2018, then the number of acupuncture practitioners in China in 2018 could be obtained as well. Results: Calculating based on the workload, the range of acupuncture practitioners in China in 2018 was from 6,950 to 19,262. Calculating based on the salary level, the range was 10,618 to 17,697. Calculating based on the ratio of the number of acupuncture practitioners to the whole population of CMDs, the number was 28,360. Conclusions: The reasonable range of acupuncture practitioners in China in 2018 was 10,618 to 17,697, with a median of 14,157. Considering that some acupuncture practitioners are also engaged in teaching, research, and management, the mentioned number is enlarged by 30% to produce 18,404, which would be reasonable. It was also concluded that the density of acupuncture practitioners was 1.31 per 100,000 residents.

Keywords: China; acupuncture practitioner; density; number; range.

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