The influence of sociodemographic characteristics on health care utilisation in a Swedish municipality
During recent years there has been a debate on factors that might influence health care utilisation, and the possibilities to predict such utilisation in order to facilitate the allocation of health care resources in the community. Currently only the age distribution in the population is usually used for such predictions. In this study the influence of a number of other sociodemographic characteristics on health care utilisation, in addition to age and sex, was assess in a small Swedish community. A postal questionnaire, containing questions on health care utilisation and a number of sociodemographic factors, was sent to a random, stratified sample of the population of Habo municipality, Sweden. Out of the sampled 1312 subjects, 827 (63%) responded to the questionnaire. Subjects aged 65 years and above had higher odds for having consulted a physician, having been hospitalised and having a cost limitation card compared to those below age 65. Men had significantly lower odds than women for having consulted a physician, having visited other health care providers and having a cost limitation card. Singles, as compared to married subjects, had lower odds for all health care measures except having consulted a physician. Subjects with sick leave or disability pension, as compared to working subjects, had higher odds for most health care utilisation measures. A number of sociodemographic factors were thus associated with health care utilisation and might be considered in the health care resources allocation process.
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