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Impact of alternative healthcare plans on out-of-hours help-seeking intentions in Switzerland


Keizer, Ellen; Huibers, Linda; Bondo Christensen, Morten; Senn, Oliver (2018). Impact of alternative healthcare plans on out-of-hours help-seeking intentions in Switzerland. Swiss Medical Weekly, 148:w14686.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION In Switzerland, mandatory health insurance plans (standard) offer free access to secondary and emergency care. However, in return for a lower premium, individuals can choose alternative healthcare plans (HCPs), with either a general practitioner (GP) or a medical call centre (Telmed) acting as gatekeeper.
AIM To examine the impact of alternative HCPs on patients' intended help-seeking behaviour out-of-hours (OOH) in Switzerland.
METHODS A secondary analysis of the Swiss data collected for the EurOOHnet survey on help-seeking behaviour in Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland was made. The survey used hypothetical scenarios for measuring two outcome measures: intended help-seeking for (1) OOH care and (2) OOH face-to-face care. Binomial regression analyses were used to test the influence of HCPs on intended OOH help-seeking, adjusted for other (population) characteristics.
RESULTS Telmed-insured persons were more inclined to OOH help-seeking than persons with a standard HCP (odds ratio [OR] 2.28, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.91-2.72; controlled for other population factors), mainly driven by contact with the medical call centre (31 vs 5%), and were less inclined to have an OOH face-to-face contact (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.55-0.87). Persons with a GP HCP had a lower intended use of face-to-face OOH care contacts than persons with a standard plan (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.63-0.86).
CONCLUSION Alternative HCPs on a voluntary basis seem to influence the use of OOH care. These results could be relevant for policy makers, especially from non-gatekeeping countries, to reduce irrelevant use and subsequent costs of emergency and OOH care services.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION In Switzerland, mandatory health insurance plans (standard) offer free access to secondary and emergency care. However, in return for a lower premium, individuals can choose alternative healthcare plans (HCPs), with either a general practitioner (GP) or a medical call centre (Telmed) acting as gatekeeper.
AIM To examine the impact of alternative HCPs on patients' intended help-seeking behaviour out-of-hours (OOH) in Switzerland.
METHODS A secondary analysis of the Swiss data collected for the EurOOHnet survey on help-seeking behaviour in Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland was made. The survey used hypothetical scenarios for measuring two outcome measures: intended help-seeking for (1) OOH care and (2) OOH face-to-face care. Binomial regression analyses were used to test the influence of HCPs on intended OOH help-seeking, adjusted for other (population) characteristics.
RESULTS Telmed-insured persons were more inclined to OOH help-seeking than persons with a standard HCP (odds ratio [OR] 2.28, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.91-2.72; controlled for other population factors), mainly driven by contact with the medical call centre (31 vs 5%), and were less inclined to have an OOH face-to-face contact (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.55-0.87). Persons with a GP HCP had a lower intended use of face-to-face OOH care contacts than persons with a standard plan (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.63-0.86).
CONCLUSION Alternative HCPs on a voluntary basis seem to influence the use of OOH care. These results could be relevant for policy makers, especially from non-gatekeeping countries, to reduce irrelevant use and subsequent costs of emergency and OOH care services.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of General Practice
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:22 October 2018
Deposited On:22 Feb 2019 16:12
Last Modified:22 Feb 2019 16:14
Publisher:EMH Swiss Medical Publishers
ISSN:0036-7672
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4414/smw.2018.14686
PubMed ID:30378091

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