Reducing disparities in mammography-use in a multicultural population in Israel

Int J Equity Health. 2009 May 19:8:19. doi: 10.1186/1475-9276-8-19.


Background: In the past mammography-use has been reported to be low in Israel compared to other western countries. The objectives of this study were (1) to assess the increase in mammography-use during the years 2002 to 2007 in four population groups in Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS), Israel: non-immigrant non-ultraorthodox, ultraorthodox, and immigrant Jewish women and Arab women; (2) to assess ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in mammography-use.

Methods: A random telephone survey of 1,550 women receiving healthcare services from MHS was performed during May-June 2007. Information from MHS claims-records database regarding mammography-use was obtained for each woman for the period 2002 to 2007. Since mammography-use serves as a quality assurance measure for primary care, MHS sent mail and telephone invitations for mammography to all women since the end of 2004.

Results: At the beginning of the follow-up period (2002) mammography-use among Jewish non-immigrant non-ultraorthodox and ultraorthodox women was higher than among Arab and Jewish immigrant women. During the 5 year follow-up these disparities decreased significantly. In 2007, mammography-use by Arab women was only slightly lower compared to all groups of Jewish women. In 2007, after adjustment for socioeconomic factors there was only a borderline significant difference between Jewish and Arab women. The socioeconomic variables were not associated with mammography-use in 2002 and 2007 in any of the groups except for marital status in immigrant women in 2002.

Conclusion: The interventions implemented by MHS may have increased mammography-use in all population groups, decreasing disparities between the groups, however the differences between Jewish and Arab women have not been completely eliminated and indicate a need for further targeted interventions. No significant socioeconomic disparities in mammography-use were observed.