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2017 Major Report

Use, access to, and impact of Medicare services for Australian women: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) is a longitudinal population-based survey examining the health of over 58,000 Australian women. The study comprises four cohorts of women: three cohorts (born in 1921-26, 1946-51, 1973-78) have been repeatedly surveyed since 1996, and a new cohort (born in 1989-95) was first surveyed in 2013. The survey data are linked to Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS), Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), and hospital inpatient data, providing information on health care use, aged care data (for women in the oldest cohort), and mortality data.

The ALSWH data have been widely used to assess health status of women in Australia and to investigate the behavioural and socio-demographic characteristics that affect health and the use of health services at different life stages. This major report, the latest in a series for the Department of Health, examines and compares the use of, access to, and impact of Medicare services for women in Australia across the life course. The life course approach adopted in this report focuses on how factors impacting women’s health and health service use change across life stages, as captured in the twenty years of surveys and four age cohorts in the study. For instance, a more detailed understanding of the use of health services as young woman, compared with a working mother, to a woman post menopause, an guide the provision of health services in the future. Where the report identifies a link between the specific characteristics of women and differences in the use or costs of health services, then this relationship is evident after taking into account the effects of other factors, such as their age.

Byles J, Mishra G, Hockey R, Adane A, Chan H, Dolja-Gore X, Forder P, Harris M, Majeed T, Loxton D & Tooth L. Use, access to, and impact of Medicare services for Australian women: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Report prepared for the Australian Government Department of Health, June 2017.

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