Published Papers - Abstract 272

Byles J, Young A & Wheway V. Annual health assessments for older Australian women: Uptake and equity. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2007; 31(2): 170-173

Objective: To measure the utilisation of Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) health assessment items for women aged 75 years and over, and to describe the health and sociodemographic characteristics of users and non-users.Design: Longitudinal survey data on socio-demographic variables, access to care and health service use linked to Medicare records.Setting: Women living in communities across Australia.Participants: 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 (n = 4646).Interventions: NilOutcome Measure(s): Medicare claims for health assessment items.Results: There was an increase in uptake of assessments over four years: in November 1999 12% of eligible women had a health assessment during the following year; by October 2003, 49% had at least one health assessment. 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 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: Uptake of assessments is increasing, but most women are not having annual assessments and there is some geographic inequity.