Access to health care and hospitalization for ambulatory care sensitive conditions

Med Care Res Rev. 2006 Dec;63(6):719-41. doi: 10.1177/1077558706293637.


Hospitalization for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions (ACSH) is an accepted indicator of access to health care and avoidable morbidity. Accessible care of reasonable quality should reduce ACSH. Little research has examined the indicator's external validity. We calculated standardized ACSH rates for 32 areas of Victoria, Australia (population 4.4 million). A representative survey measured access, disease prevalence, propensity to seek care, disease burden, social determinants of health services use, and behavioral risk factors. Regression analyses compared self-rated access with ACSH rates. Independent of prevalence, propensity to seek care, disease burden, and physician supply, better access was associated with lower ACSH rates. Results provide support for the ACSH indicator. When rural residence was considered, the covariate measuring access was not significant. However, rural residence also may contribute importantly to access. Results suggest both the complexity of the meaning of access and the desirability of further research to validate the ACSH indicator.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care / standards*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Health Services Accessibility / classification
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Misuse
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Physicians / supply & distribution
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Victoria