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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0102-311XOn-line version ISSN 1678-4464


DIAS-DA-COSTA, Juvenal Soares et al. Use of outpatient services in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil: factors related to above-average number of physician visits. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.24, n.2, pp.353-363. ISSN 0102-311X.

This cross-sectional, population-based study including males and females 20 to 69 years of age from the urban area of Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil, aimed to verify characteristics associated with above-average number of medical consultations. The mean number of physician consultations in the previous year was 3.2, with a standard deviation of 5.5. The analysis considered two outcomes: individuals with more than eight physician visits per year (one SD above the mean) and more than 14 consultations (two SD above the mean). In the sample of 1,962 individuals, 183 (9.3%) reported more than eight physician consultations in the previous year. Logistic regression compared the outcomes with the following variables: sex, age, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, chronic bronchitis, minor psychiatric disorders, and hospitalization in the previous year. There were 57 individuals (2.9%) with more than 14 consultations during the year. Logistic regression showed significant differences for sex, hypertension, minor psychiatric disorders, and hospitalization in the previous year. The high demand does not always mean inadequate health services, and restricting the demand could result in policies that limit access to care, causing suffering to patients with serious conditions.

Keywords : Health Services Misuse; Ambulatory Care; Health Services.

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