Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Health Care Services Utilization
Eva A. Meyers
Health care services utilization refers to how much health care people use, the types of health care they use, and the timing of that care. People use health care services for many reasons: to cure illnesses and health conditions, to mend breaks and tears, to prevent or delay future health care problems, to reduce pain and increase quality of life, and sometimes merely to obtain information about their health status and prognosis. Health care utilization can be appropriate or inappropriate, of high or low quality, expensive or inexpensive. It is an evolving process as the population's need for care has changed over time. Factors that influence health care needs include aging, sociodemographic population shifts, and changes in the prevalence and incidence of different diseases. This entry reviews factors that influence health care utilization and reviews the impact of overall trends found in the United States, as reported by the Centers ...