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Health Place. 2010 Sep;16(5):893-902. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2010.04.015. Epub 2010 May 20.

Urban-rural health differences: primary care data and self reported data render different results.

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  • 1NIVEL, Netherlands Institute of Health Services Research, P.O. Box 1568, 3500 BN Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Assessing the usefulness of GP electronic medical records for assessing the health of rural populations by comparing these data with data from health interview surveys.


Data from electronic medical records routinely recorded in general practices in 2000-2002. Data on self-reported health problems were obtained through questionnaires in a subset of the same patient population.


According to GP-records, acute somatic and chronic diseases were more frequently presented in rural areas. At the same time self reported health problems point to a better health in rural areas.


GP electronic medical records may be used to monitor the health of rural populations. These data can be obtained relatively quickly and easily and against acceptable cost. However, they do not give the same outcomes as health interview surveys. Reasons for this discrepancy may be; differences in the accessibility of specialist services and help seeking behaviour between urban and rural populations.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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