Going to the doctor

Health Rep. 2007 Feb;18(1):23-35.


Objectives: This article, based on the Andersen model, describes patterns of consultation with general practitioners (GPs) and specialists among Canadians aged 18 or older. Associations with health status and other factors are examined.

Data source: Estimates are based on data from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), cycle 3.1.

Analytical techniques: Cross-tabulations were used to estimate the proportion of adult Canadians who had had a GP consultation, four or more GP consultations, or a specialist consultation in the previous year. Adjusted logistic regression models were used to examine factors associated with such consultations when the effects of health need were taken into account.

Main results: In 2005, 77% of Canadians aged 18 to 64 and 88% of seniors reported that they had consulted a GP in the previous year; 25% and 44%, respectively, had done so four or more times; and 27% and 34% had consulted a specialist. Individual health need, as measured by the presence of chronic conditions and self-reported general and mental health, was a strong determinant of service use. However, when need was taken into account, physician consultations were independently associated with age, sex, household income, race, language, urban/rural residence and having a regular family doctor. Seniors aged 75 or older and rural residents had low odds of specialist consultations, but high odds of four or more GP consultations. Visible minorities and Aboriginal people had lower odds of reporting specialist consultations than did Whites.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Culture
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Specialization