Regional inequalities of avoidable hospitalisation in Lithuania
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Background. Avoidable hospitalisation is useful in evaluating access and quality of primary and ambulatory healthcare. For Lithuania it is particularly relevant as hospitalisation remains higher than European level and regional inequalities in available healthcare services within country prevail. Aim. This study aimed to assess regional inequalities of avoidable hospitalisation in Lithuania in the period of healthcare restructuring program. Methodology. Regional age-adjusted rates of hospital admissions for a set of ambulatory care sensitive conditions (per 100 000 pop.) were used in this study. Results. A decline of avoidable hospitalisation level was found in 2005–2011. Rural areas had higher avoidable hospitalisation level compare to urban areas, however in case of emergency avoidable hospitalisation the situation was opposite. Inequalities of avoidable hospitalisation existed between administrative regions. Relatively smaller regions had more ACSC hospital admissions. Conclusion. In Lithuania, avoidable hospitalisation was reduced throughout the period of healthcare restructuring program, which supports national plan to strengthen primary healthcare and expand outpatient services in context of inpatient care reduction. The overview of regional differences indicates potentiality of healthcare improvement and social care integration for policy makers and healthcare managers.
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