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Acad Med. 2012 Mar;87(3):327-31. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182448731.

A comparison between physicians and demographically similar peers in accessing personal health care.

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  • 1Division of Graduate Medical Education, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, USA.



Residents are a unique subpopulation of physicians, training in a complex work and educational environment that may create barriers to accessing preventive and illness-related health care. This study was designed to investigate residents' utilization of personal health care services and compare with those of demographically similar peers.


All 675 residents in a large, urban, tertiary care U.S. academic medical center were invited to participate in a confidential, Web-based, cross-sectional survey in January 2008. Survey responses to questions addressing personal health care were compared with those of a demographically similar group using the 2008 survey from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The final weights in BRFSS were used for a post hoc stratified adjustment in analysis. Logistic regression was employed to compare subgroups.


Sixty-six percent of residents completed the survey. A significantly lower percentage of residents reported having a primary care provider (44%) or dentist (65%) or having routine health and dental care visits (39% and 53%, respectively) within the past year than those in the demographically similar group of 2008 BRFSS. In that group, 83% reported having a primary care provider, and 63% and 79% reported having routine primary and dental health care visits, respectively.


The residents were significantly less likely than demographically similar peers to have a primary care provider or dentist or to participate in routine health maintenance. Further research into barriers preventing residents from accessing health care, and opportunities to address them, is needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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