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Health Place. 2006 Jun;12(2):195-202.

Geographical variations in hospital use in Estonia.

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Department of Public Health, University of Tartu, Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu, Estonia.


The purpose of this study was to analyse the utilisation of inpatient care in Estonia. Using small-area analysis the age and sex of municipality residents and travel time to the nearest hospital were linked to the frequency of use and length of stay of respective inpatients. Adjusted hospitalisation and readmission rates decreased with increasing travel time to the hospital. The travel time effect on the length of stay was inconsistent. Despite differences in hospital utilisation among municipalities, geographical access to inpatient care was substantially diminished only for 3% of the population living further than 30 min from hospital.

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