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Keywords:

  • Health assessment;
  • health care utilisation;
  • ageing;
  • rural

Abstract

Objective: To measure utilisation of Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) health assessment items for women aged 75 years and over, and to describe health and socio-demographic characteristics of users and non-users.

Method: Analysis of longitudinal survey and Medicare claims data from women in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH) aged 75 to 78 years when EPC items were introduced and who provided permission to access their Medicare records for the period 1999–2003 (n=4,646).

Results: There was an increase in uptake of assessments over four years: from November 1999, 12% of eligible women had a health assessment during the following year; by October 2003, 49% had at least one health assessment ever. Few had repeat assessments. Women who visited a GP more often and who were satisfied with the number of GPs available were more likely to have an assessment in the first 12 months, and women who visited a GP more often, those taking more medications, and those caring for another were more likely to have at least one assessment in four years. Women in smaller rural and remote areas were less likely to have an assessment than women in urban areas.

Conclusions: Most women are not having annual assessments and there is some geographic inequity.