Health status indices and access to medical care

Am J Public Health. 1978 May;68(5):458-63. doi: 10.2105/ajph.68.5.458.


This paper examines the uses of some health status indices in measuring equity of access to medical care. Empirical examples are provided using data from national surveys of the U.S. population conducted from 1964 through 1976. A simple indicator, mean number of physician visits, suggests that between 1963 and 1976 the poor improved their position relative to the rest of the population and, indeed, currently enjoy the highest level of access. However, a second measure, the use-disability ratio indicates that the poor may still receive less care relative to their need. A third measure, the symptoms-response ratio suggests how norms of appropriate behavior might be incorporated into an access measure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Disability Evaluation
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data
  • United States