Objective: To describe differences in healthcare utilization and health indicators of patients with diabetes, according to gender.
Study design: A population-based outcome study conducted on 21,277 diabetic patients between the ages of 45 and 64 years who are members of the second largest health maintenance organization in Israel.
Methods: Data on healthcare utilization (process indicators) and health problems (outcome indicators) were obtained from computerized medical records that are stored routinely by the organization. The study period was the year 2002.
Results: Significantly (P < 0.05) lower healthcare utilization was observed in men compared with women for all indicators examined (number of visits to physicians and the performance of urine, lipids and creatinine tests). Nonetheless, men showed better health outcomes (lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, HbA1c).
Conclusions: Women who suffer from diabetes use more healthcare services and have a higher morbidity rate compared with men. Future research should seek to identify the factors contributing to this observation, which can potentially make an important contribution to the development of disease management strategies that target diabetic women.