Health service utilization (HSU) is a significant health and political issue. Awareness of factors that affect HSU and the status of health service utilization can help health professionals improve their services. The aim of this study was to investigate the status of HSU and identify the factors affecting health service utilization among households residing in Tehran.
The present cross-sectional study included 1200 residing households from different regions of Tehran, the capital of Iran. They were selected by a multi-stage cluster sampling method in accordance with the zoning of Tehran concerning socio-economic development. Interviews were conducted by trained individuals using a health service utilization questionnaire introduced by the World Health Organization, Zimet’s social support questionnaire, and demographic checklist during winter 2018 and spring 2019. Simple and multiple logistic regression models were applied to analyze the data. In order to include the factors related to the status of outpatient health service utilization, a set of bivariate analyses was conducted, and then the factors with a p-value of ≤0.20 were included in the multiple models. Data were analyzed using Stata 12 software.
The results of the study indicated that the rate of outpatient HSU among households residing in Tehran was 63.61% (CI:60, 66.80). In addition, regarding the results of the study, asset index of family (OR=0.51, 95% CI: 0.28, 0.91), the level of awareness and knowledge of family members regarding health issues (OR=0.55, 95% CI: 0.34, 0.88) as well as the mother knowledge on health issues (OR=0.64 , 95% CI: 0.45, 0.93), the level of social support (OR = 0.50, 95% CI: 0.37,0.68), family health expenditure (OR=1.20, 95% CI: 1.18, 4.06), having a member with a sort of disability in family (OR=1.66, 95% CI: 1.01, 2.77), and having an alcoholic member in family (OR=2.44, 95% CI: 1.27, 4.68) were factors associated with outpatient HSU among households. Considering the adjusted values of odds ratios, the prevalence of the HSU varied according to the area of residence. It should be noted that the variables included in the model explained 15% of the changes in the prevalence of HSU.
According to the results of the study and in order to increase HSU in different classes, the level of social support, especially among women in the family due to their role in the general health of family members, should be enhanced. Also, policies should be adopted to increase the awareness, knowledge, and information of family members about health issues, lifestyle changes, nutrition, and health behaviors through social media.
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