Objective: This study explores a range of relevant socio-demographic, physical and psychological factors in a unique examination of the risk factors for frequent attendance at primary care. The impact of patient activation for self-management on health service utilisation is of particular interest.
Methods: A population-based sample of people with chronic disease from Queensland, Australia, was interviewed using computer assisted telephone surveying. Data were collected from a random sample of 1470 people with either diabetes or a cardiovascular condition.
Results: As participants became more activated they were less likely to frequently attend their main health care provider for assistance with their chronic condition. For both conditions the association was graduated and for participants with a cardiovascular condition this association remained statistically significant even after controlling for other potentially influential factors such as disease severity, length of time since diagnosis, and psychological distress.
Conclusion: Characteristics of the individual, including patient activation and psychological functioning, as well as disease factors contribute to primary care consulting patterns among people with chronic illness.
Practical implications: Efforts to improve patient activation for self-management should remain a central element of chronic care.
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