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Publication Title

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health








The management and treatment of adult asthma has been associated with utilization of health services. Objectives: First, to investigate the likelihood of health service utilization, including primary care, emergency department, and hospital stays, among persons diagnosed with an asthma condition relative to those that do not have an asthma condition. Second, to examine the likelihood of poor physical health among asthma respondents relative to those that do not have an asthma condition. Third, to demonstrate that these relationships vary with frequency of utilization. Fourth, to discuss the magnitude of differences in frequent utilization between asthma and non-asthma respondents. Data Source: Data is derived from a random, stratified sampling of Hampton Roads adults, 18 years and older (n = 1678). Study Design: Study participants are interviewed to identify asthma diagnosis, access to primary care, frequency of emergency department utilization, hospital admissions, and days of poor physical health. Odds-ratios establish relationships with the covariates on the outcome variable. Findings: Those with asthma are found more likely (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.05-2.15) to report poor physical health relative to non-asthma study participants. Further, asthma respondents are found more likely (OR 4.23, 95% CI 1.56-11.69) to frequently utilize primary care that may be associated with the management of the condition and are also more likely to utilize treatment services, such as the emergency department (OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.32-2.65) and hospitalization (OR 2.21, 95% CI 1.39-3.50), associated with acute and episodic care. Further, it is a novel finding that these likelihoods increase with frequency of utilization for emergency department visits and hospital stays. Conclusion: Continuity in care and better management of the diseases may result in less demand for emergency department services and hospitalization. Health care systems need to recognize that asthma patients are increasingly more likely to be characterized as frequent utilizers of both primary and emergency department care as the threshold for what constitutes frequent utilization increases. Investments in prevention and better management of the chronic condition may result in less demand for acute care services, especially among high frequency utilizers.

Original Publication Citation

Behr, J. G., Diaz, R., & Akpinar-Elci, M. (2016). Health service utilization and poor health reporting in asthma patients. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(7), 8. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13070645


0000-0001-8094-261X (Akpinar-Elci)

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