IJERPH, Vol. 16, Pages 5028: Sex Differences in Factors Affecting Hospital Outpatient Department Visits: Korea Health Panel Survey Data from 2009 to 2016 (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
This study intends to inspect the sex differences in proportion of hospital outpatient department (OPD) visits in overall outpatient (OP) visits using national panel data and to explore factors that influence the proportions by sex. This study analyzed data of the 2009–2016 Korea Health Panel Survey. Fractional logit regression was applied to analyze factors that affect proportion of hospital visits among outpatient visits. Analysis of related factors was carried out first for all analysis subjects and then by sex. The study data were provided by 7470 women (52.2%) and 6846 men (47.8%). The overall average number of OP visits was 13.0, and women showed a much higher frequency of visits (15.8) than men (9.9). The average proportion of hospital OPD visits among overall OP visits was 21.9%, and men showed a higher rate (25.1%) than women (19.5%). The analysis model including sociodemographic factors, economic factors, and health-related factors confirmed that men showed a higher rate of hospital usage than women. Type of medical security, household income, participation in economic activities, disability, and serious illnesses were significant variables for both sexes. Age, education level, marital status, and subscription to voluntary private health insurance were significant only for women, whereas region of residence was significant only for men. This study confirmed that there is a sex difference in proportion of hospital OPD visits and in the factors that affect the proportion of hospital OPD visits. Universal health coverage is provided through social health insurance, but there is a sex difference in hospital OPD visits, and factors related to socioeconomic status have a significant effect, especially on women’s selection of health care institutions. More attention should be given to sex differences in factors affecting health care utilization.