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The Primary Health Care Project in Belgium: a survey on the utilization of health services


, : The Primary Health Care Project in Belgium: a survey on the utilization of health services. Social Science & Medicine 20(3): 181-190

The article consists of two major parts. In the Introduction a general overview is given of the Primary Health Care Project, carried out in Belgium from 1975 to 1978 in the broader framework of a large National Project in the Social Sciences. An explanation is given of the scope of the study, its method and sampling. Since the very broad study design, it was decided to make a selection of interesting results. An overview is given of the most relevant data with respect to the utilization of health care services and of medicines. After a short clarification of the concept of utilization behaviour, some data are presented in order to describe the use of medical services and the consumption of medicines. Secondly an attempt is made to explain utilization behaviour. For the explanatory model used in this project, the WHO-model functioned as an important source of inspiration. In this way it surmounted the limitations of much previous research. This model included variables on the level of the individual-perceived morbidity, predisposing factors and enabling factors-as well as system variables--such as degree of urbanization, proximity and the way of functioning of the medical supply. The research results have successfully shown that: there is a strong relationship between perceived presence and perceived seriousness of morbidity on the one hand, utilization behaviour on the other hand; the health perspective (including medical knowledge, values and attitudes) seems to have a differential influence on utilization behaviour, depending on age and social background of the respondent; the inclusion of socio-structural variables is an innovation in the Belgian health care research. The hypothetical character of the relationships found here is largely supported by the research simultaneously conducted in the French-speaking region of Belgium; accessibility and socialization are factors having a clear influence on the use of general practice services. The importance of the presence and the organization of the supply in the explanation of utilization behaviour is partly confirmed.

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Accession: 041565130

PMID: 3975683

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