Article: Determinants analysis of outpatient service utilization in Georgia: can the approach help inform benefit package design?
Curatio International Foundation conducted secondary data analyses of Health Service Utilization and Expenditure survey (2 waves), conducted by Ministry of Labor Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, supported by WHO and The World Bank.
We studied factors that impact utilization of outpatient health services in Georgia. Several important findings have been revealed, that can be successfully used to update existing outpatient service package and make it more relevant to the needs of Georgian population.
- Household income is linked to service consumption – Families with high and middle income are more likely to use outpatient services than those who have low income;
- Out of the pocket payment is one of the important barriers for service usage, in particular increase of service costs by one Georgian Lari reduces the use of outpatient services by 2%;
- Patients with chronic illness are less likely to use outpatient services, compared to patients with acute health problems – frequency of outpatient service utilization is 2 times less;
- Utilization of outpatient services is affected by the age factor – people from 45 to 64 are less likely to use outpatient services and often seek self-treatment.
To respond to the above listed challenges, it is important to fit outpatient service packages to the population needs.
The recent changes in the Universal Health Care Program, initiated by Georgian government and launched in May, 2017 will be a step forward to improve population financial protection. The changes respond to the research findings and recommendations in regard of outpatient services, that are fully represented in the article.