Utilization of health care services is an important health-related behavior because it allows individuals to obtain information about their health status, maintain or improve their health and well-being, and respond to health problems with guidance from a health care provider. There are many barriers that prevent individuals from accessing health services from a general doctor or other health care provider, such as the cost of health care services, lack of transportation, being uninsured, limited English proficiency, or a distrust of the medical system. Measuring rates of individuals who report having a general doctor or provider visit can help identify gaps in health care access among population subgroups and inform policy efforts to improve access to and utilization of health care services.
State Health Compare provides annual, state-level estimates of individuals who had any visit to a general doctor or provider during the past twelve months. Estimates can be broken down by age group and type of health insurance coverage. This measure is based on SHADAC’s analysis of data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).