The use of health care services by people with diabetes in rural areas

J Rural Health. 1998 Spring;14(2):129-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.1998.tb00614.x.


Current standards of health care support the view that diabetes can be managed in an outpatient setting, thereby preventing costly hospitalization. Yet, recent studies on access to care suggest that rural residents do not receive the same services for diabetes care as their urban counterparts. This study identifies differences in use for three types of services-hospital care, home health visits, and physician office visits--by geographical location. Using a sample of 6,698 Medicare beneficiaries, the authors performed multivariate analysis of variance to test the influence of geographical differences on each type of service use after controlling for the other types of service use and individual factors. Results showed significant differences among the geographical categories, with diabetic individuals in the most sparsely populated communities reporting fewer physician office visits and more home health visits than their urban counterparts. Because this pattern may have a negative impact on health outcomes, additional research is needed to determine the optimal array of services necessary to manage chronic diseases, such as diabetes, in rural areas.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Female
  • Home Care Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data
  • Regression Analysis
  • Rural Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Urban Health Services / statistics & numerical data