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Rural-urban disparities in family physician practice patterns: A nationwide survey in Taiwan.

Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30238506


In a world with increasing urbanization, rural-urban disparities in health care utilization have been a long-term concern. However, the details regarding the practice patterns of family physicians in Taiwan have not received sufficient attention thus far.


The National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan offered 0.2% of the total ambulatory visit records for Taiwan in 2013. Records from community clinics of family medicine were collected, with the clinics categorized as rural, suburban, or urban area clinics according to their locations.


Among 100 334 visits to family medicine clinics, the median patient age was 50 years for urban clinics, 51 for suburban clinics, and 58 for rural clinics. The distributions of patient ages differed in the three areas (P < 0.001). Four types of chronic diseases (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancers) accounted for 10.8%, 11.3%, and 13.6%, of the visits to urban, suburban, and rural clinics, respectively. The most common procedure was wound treatment, and the pattern of the top 10 procedures was similar in the three areas.


Although rural patients in Taiwan were older and had more chronic diseases than urban and suburban patients, the pattern of procedures undertaken by rural family physicians did not differ from those of urban and suburban family physicians.