An empirical model to estimate the demand for primary care in urban settings

Phuc Hong Le, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Objective. To measure the demand for primary care and its associated factors by building and estimating a demand model of primary care in urban settings. Data source. Secondary data from 2005 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS 2005), a population-based random-digit dial telephone survey, conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in collaboration with the California Department of Health Services, and the Public Health Institute between July 2005 and April 2006. Study design. A literature review was done to specify the demand model by identifying relevant predictors and indicators. CHIS 2005 data was utilized for demand estimation. Analytical methods. The probit regression was used to estimate the use/non-use equation and the negative binomial regression was applied to the utilization equation with the non-negative integer dependent variable. Results. The model included two equations in which the use/non-use equation explained the probability of making a doctor visit in the past twelve months, and the utilization equation estimated the demand for primary conditional on at least one visit. Among independent variables, wage rate and income did not affect the primary care demand whereas age had a negative effect on demand. People with college and graduate educational level were associated with 1.03 (p < 0.05) and 1.58 (p < 0.01) more visits, respectively, compared to those with no formal education. Insurance was significantly and positively related to the demand for primary care (p < 0.01). Need for care variables exhibited positive effects on demand (p < 0.01). Existence of chronic disease was associated with 0.63 more visits, disability status was associated with 1.05 more visits, and people with poor health status had 4.24 more visits than those with excellent health status. Conclusions. The average probability of visiting doctors in the past twelve months was 85% and the average number of visits was 3.45. The study emphasized the importance of need variables in explaining healthcare utilization, as well as the impact of insurance, employment and education on demand. The two-equation model of decision-making, and the probit and negative binomial regression methods, was a useful approach to demand estimation for primary care in urban settings.

Subject Area

Public health|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Le, Phuc Hong, "An empirical model to estimate the demand for primary care in urban settings" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1463619.