Healthcare utilization, bypass, and multiple visits: the case of Bhutan

Type Journal Article - International Journal of Health Economics and Management
Title Healthcare utilization, bypass, and multiple visits: the case of Bhutan
Volume 17
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 1-31
This paper uses the Bhutan Living Standards Survey 2012 to assess factors that affect the decision to use outpatient care when ill, outpatient utilization choice, and bypassing decision. Our attention is placed on geographical factors because of the unique geographical landscape in Bhutan, which may act as an important barrier for access to care in the country. We further analyze the pattern of multiple healthcare visits of individuals with the same health symptom. The methods employed for this study consist of binary logit and multinomial logit regressions as well as descriptive statistical approach. The results show that living in rural area, longer travel time, and residing in remote area reduce the chance of receiving formal care when ill, and among those who get formal treatment, these factors lead to higher tendency of visiting primary healthcare facilities and less propensity of getting care from secondary and tertiary providers. We also find that people with lower economic status have less access to care than their richer counterparts. By investigating the pattern of multiple outpatient visits, our analysis reveals incidence of bypassing primary care to higher level of care in Bhutan. There is also evidence of moving up to higher level of care during subsequent visits but in general people are very persistent in their provider choice.

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