Individual determinants of utilization



Individualdeterminants of utilization

Individualdeterminants of utilization

Individualdeterminants of utilization in health care refer to individualcharacteristics that determine the health care services they arelikely to demand and receive as well as the cost of these services.There are three main individual determinants of utilization, whichinclude predisposing component, enabling component and the level ofillness (Andersen &amp Newman, 2005). The determinants are arrangedin a sequence.

Thepredisposing component of individual determinants of utilizationrefers to the propensity of some individuals to use health careservices. The predisposing factors or characteristics can easily beidentified before an episode of illness starts. Although thesecharacteristics are not directly responsible for the illnesses, theirpresence indicates that the individual has a higher likelihood ofutilizing certain health care services (Yesalis, 2012). Additionally,these factors can be used to predict the relative cost of health careservices used by the individual. Some of predisposing characteristicsthat determine individual utilization and cost of health servicesdemographic factors, social structure factors and beliefs.Demographic factors include age, gender marital status and history ofillness among others. Social structures include level of education,occupation, racial and ethnic factors, size of the family, religion,place of residence and level of income among others. Individualbeliefs that have an impact on utilization and cost of health careinclude perceived value of health, knowledge about illnesses anddiseases and the individual attitude towards health care (Andersen &ampNewman, 2005).

Theenabling component of individual determinants of utilization ofhealth care refers to the conditions that allow the individual or thefamily to satisfy the health care need. This includes the means toaccessing the health care services or what makes the health careservices available to the individual who need them. The enablingcomponent can be either at the family level or the community level.At the family level, they enabling factors includes the level ofincome, health insurance and regular source of health care services.Community enabling factors include the ratio of population to healthcare facilities and personnel, cost of health services, nature of thecommunity (urban or rural), and social norms and values related tohealth care (Andersen &amp Newman, 2005, Scheutza &amp Heidmann,2001).

Whenthe predisposing and enabling factors are present, the individualmust perceive the illness or the likelihood of it occurring in orderto utilize health care services. This is referred to the level ofillness or need factor. This is the immediate individual determinantsof utilization of health care services. The level of illness can beperceived or clinically evaluated. Perceived level of illness isbased on personal experiences such as pain or disruption of normallife. Clinical evaluation refers to an attempt to clinicallydetermine the actual and severity of the illness through medical test(Andersen &amp Newman, 2005).

Considera case of a 71 years relatively healthy woman. She was a moderatesmoker for over twenty years although she has quit smoking.Previously she has had gastric surgery and severe accident affectedher left leg and collar bone. Although she is retired, she wasprominent businesswoman whom, together with her late husbandestablishes a business empire worth million dollars in the realestate industry. Some of the factors that are that predispose the oldwoman to utilization of health care services and the health servicesshe is likely to receive include her advanced age, social status,level of income, gender, past illnesses and value, attitudes andknowledge about illness and health.


Andersen,R., &amp Newman, J. F. (2005). “Societal and IndividualDeterminants of Medical Care Utilization in the United States”. TheMilbank Quarterly,83(4).

ScheutzaF. &amp Heidmann, J. (2001). “Determinants of utilization ofdental services among 20- to 34-year-old Danes”, ActaOdontologica Scandinavica59(4).

Yesalis,C. (2012). Fundamentalsof U.S. health care,Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.