Health for all? Patterns and predictors of allied health service use in Australia

Foster, Michele, O'Flaherty, Martin, Haynes, Michele, Mitchell, Geoffrey and Haines, Terrence P. (2013) Health for all? Patterns and predictors of allied health service use in Australia. Australian Health Review, 37 3: 389-396. doi:10.1071/AH12040

Author Foster, Michele
O'Flaherty, Martin
Haynes, Michele
Mitchell, Geoffrey
Haines, Terrence P.
Title Health for all? Patterns and predictors of allied health service use in Australia
Journal name Australian Health Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0156-5788
Publication date 2013-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/AH12040
Open Access Status
Volume 37
Issue 3
Start page 389
End page 396
Total pages 8
Place of publication Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective To examine patterns and predictors of allied health service use among the Australian population.
Methods Data from the 2007–08 longitudinal National Health Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Australia were used to examine differences in use of allied health services among the population. The survey is based on 15 779 adult respondents. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to model the probability of visiting an allied health service contingent on multiple factors of interest.
Results Men, less educated people and people from non-English speaking backgrounds were low users compared with other groups. Interestingly, people with type 2 diabetes were substantially higher users compared with people with other chronic diseases, or no reported chronic disease, and ancillary health insurance had a strong positive effect on use.
Discussion Further investigation of the social and economic circumstances surrounding allied health service use is required to determine areas of under use or unmet need. High use among people with diabetes might indicate the impact of policy incentives to enhance use. Yet, whether all those in need are able to access services is unknown. Further investigation of use among groups with different health needs and by type of financing will enhance policy.

What is known about the topic? Inequities and variations in access to allied health services are commonplace. Effective policy initiatives to improve access, particularly among patients with chronic disease, will depend on improving the knowledge base about patterns of use of allied health services, and what determines use.
What does this paper add? This paper reveals the high and low users of allied health services among the Australian population, those population groups who might be missing out and what might explain these patterns. This information will enable policy makers to target areas of potential unmet need.
What are the implications for practitioners? Multidisciplinary team care is advocated in the management of chronic disease. Practitioners have a vital role in framing the benefits of allied health services to patients and in developing the evidence base about best practice in the management of chronic disease for diverse patient groups.
Keyword Enhanced primary-care
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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