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Open Access Research article

Health examination utilization in the visually disabled population in Taiwan: a nationwide population-based study

Yueh-Han Hsu123, Wen-Chen Tsai1 and Pei-Tseng Kung4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Services Administration, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, R.O.C. Taiwan

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Ditmanson Medical Foundation Chia-Yi Christian Hospital, Chia-Yi 60002, R.O.C. Taiwan

3 Department of Nursing, Min-Hwei Junior College of Health Care Management, Tainan 73658, R.O.C. Taiwan

4 Department of Healthcare Administration, Asia University, No. 500 Lioufeng Road, Wufeng, Taichung 41354, R.O.C. Taiwan

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:509  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-509

Published: 5 December 2013

Abstract

Background

People with visual disabilities have increased health needs but face worse inequity to preventive health examinations. To date, only a few nationwide studies have analyzed the utilization of preventive adult health examinations by the visually disabled population. The aim of this study was to investigate the utilization of health examinations by the visually disabled population, and analyze the factors associated with the utilization.

Methods

Visual disability was certified by ophthalmologists and authenticated by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), Taiwan. We linked data from three different nationwide datasets (from the MOI, Bureau of Health Promotion, and National Health Research Institutes) between 2006 and 2008 as the data sources. Independent variables included demographic characteristics, income status, health status, and severity of disability; health examination utilization status was the dependent variable. The chi-square test was used to check statistical differences between variables, and a multivariate logistic regression model was used to examine the associated factors with health examination utilization.

Results

In total, 47,812 visually disabled subjects aged 40 years and over were included in this study, only 16.6% of whom received a health examination. Lower utilization was more likely in male subjects, in those aged 65 years and above, insured dependents and those with a top-ranked premium-based salary, catastrophic illness/injury, chronic diseases of the genitourinary system, and severe or very severe disabilities.

Conclusion

The overall health examination utilization in the visually disabled population was very low. Lower utilization occurred mainly in males, the elderly, and those with severe disabilities.

Keywords:
Disability; Visual impairment; Health examination utilization; Health disparity