Health Care Use by Muslim Patients During Ramadan

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2019;30(4):1360-1372. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2019.0099.


Purpose: Health care utilization during Ramadan has not been examined in the United States.

Methods: A retrospective review of billing and electronic health record data for Muslims (n = 2,919) and non-Muslims (n = 184,803) in primary care practices in Eastern Massachusetts.

Results: Muslim patients were younger, less educated, less often commercially insured, more likely to have Medicare, and less likely to be primary English speakers (p < .0001 for all comparisons). In multivariate models, during Ramadan, Muslims, compared with non-Muslims, had a higher rate of primary care visits (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01-1.11), emergency department visits (IRR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.34-1.91), and hospitalizations (IRR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.03-1.34).

Conclusions: Important demographic differences exist between Muslim and non-Muslim patients. Muslims, compared with non-Muslims, had higher health care utilization during Ramadan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Holidays* / psychology
  • Holidays* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Islam* / psychology
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies