The availability of demographic and socioeconomic determinants of health care utilization

W. van Hemelrijck, P. Schröder-Bäck

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The European White Paper "Together for Health" states that reducing health inequalities is an important goal for European health strategies. At first sight, all European countries have universal insurance coverage, implying that there is universal and equal access to health care services. Several studies have shown, however, that this is not the case. Also, although there has been some research on the subject, information on differential health care utilization is incomplete. By taking a look at Andersen’s conceptual framework on the access of health care services and literature on the subject, we composed a list of individual demographic and socioeconomic determinants of health care utilization that should be available in several databases if one’s aim is researching the subject.

The aim of this paper is to evaluate whether European data sources make analyses on individual demographic and socioeconomic determinants of health care service utilization possible with the data that is provided. The Health for All Database does not seem to focus on utilization measures and the necessary demographic and socioeconomic indicators, making ecological correlational studies difficult. Eurostat provides more opportunities for this. The European Social Survey does allow some analysis on the subject. However, health care utilization measures are rather limited. The European Health Information Survey includes all of the necessary determinants, as well as measures of health care utilization. Comparability of data resulting from this survey might, however, be restricted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-82
Number of pages9
JournalAlbanian Medical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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