Acupuncture in Australian General Practice: Patient Characteristics

Easthope, Gary, Gill, Gerard F., Beilby, Justin J. and Tranter, Bruce K. (1999) Acupuncture in Australian General Practice: Patient Characteristics. Medical Journal of Australia, 170 6: 259-262.

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Author Easthope, Gary
Gill, Gerard F.
Beilby, Justin J.
Tranter, Bruce K.
Title Acupuncture in Australian General Practice: Patient Characteristics
Journal name Medical Journal of Australia
Publication date 1999-03-01
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 170
Issue 6
Start page 259
End page 262
Subject 321300 Complementary/alternative Medicine
321301 Oriental Medicine and Treatments
Abstract Objective: To ascertain the incidence of acupuncture claims and the characteristics of patients claiming for acupuncture. Design: Secondary analysis of Health Insurance Commission data on claims for acupuncture performed by a medical practitioner. Participants: A summary of all Medicare acupuncture claims for financial years 1984-85 to 1996-97 and a random sample of patients claiming a Medicare rebate in calendar year 1996. Main outcome measures: Claims for acupuncture by patients' State, sex, age, and the socioeconomic disadvantage index of patients' residences. Results: Between 1984-85 and 1996-97 the number of acupuncture claims increased, but declined as a proportion of total Medicare claims. In 1996, 1.16% of patients claimed for acupuncture, which constituted 0.5% of all Medicare claims. Adjusting for age and socioeconomic disadvantage, women were more likely than men to claim for acupuncture (odds ratio, 1.40; 95% confidence interval, 1.36-1.45). This sex difference is proportionately greater than that for all medical services. Propensity to claim for acupuncture increased with age, peaking at 65-69 years, then declining. Acupuncture claims were more likely in areas just above those assessed as having the greatest social disadvantage. Conclusion: The number of acupuncture claims has increased since 1984. As a proportion of all Medicare claims, acupuncture has remained stable since declining in 1991-92. This suggests that acupuncture is now an established complementary medical practice.
Keyword Acupuncture
alternative therapies
natural therapies
Additional Notes This document is abstract only. The Australasian Medical Publishing Company does not permit reproduction of MJA articles on sites other than theirs. However, the full text of the article can be freely obtained from the eMJA site. URL :

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Created: Mon, 09 Feb 2004, 10:00:00 EST