Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications

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    Association between telehealth use and general practitioner characteristics during COVID-19: findings from a nationally representative survey of Australian doctors
    Scott, A ; Bai, T ; Zhang, Y (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2021-01-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To investigate factors associated with the use of telehealth by general practitioners (GPs) during COVID-19. DESIGN: A nationally representative longitudinal survey study of Australian doctors analysed using regression analysis. SETTING: General practice in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. PARTICIPANTS: 448 GPs who completed both the 11th wave (2018-2019) of the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) Survey and the MABEL COVID-19 Special Online Survey (May 2020). OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of all consultations delivered via telephone (audio) or video (audiovisual); proportion of telehealth consultations delivered via video. RESULTS: 46.1% of GP services were provided using telehealth in early May 2020, with 6.4% of all telehealth consultations delivered via video. Higher proportions of telehealth consultations were observed in GPs in larger practices compared with solo GPs: between +0.21 (95% CI +0.07 to +0.35) and +0.28 (95% CI +0.13 to +0.44). Greater proportions of telehealth consultations were delivered through video for GPs with appropriate infrastructure and for GPs with more complex patients: +0.10 (95% CI +0.04 to +0.16) and +0.04 (95% CI +0.00 to +0.08), respectively. Lower proportions of telehealth consultations were delivered via video for GPs over 55 years old compared with GPs under 35 years old: between -0.08 (95% CI -0.02 to -0.15) and -0.15 (95% CI -0.07 to -0.22), and for GPs in postcodes with a higher proportion of patients over 65 years old: -0.005 (95% CI -0.001 to -0.008) for each percentage point increase in the population over 65 years old. CONCLUSIONS: GP characteristics are strongly associated with patterns of telehealth use in clinical work. Infrastructure support and relative pricing of different consultation modes may be useful policy instruments to encourage GPs to deliver care by the most appropriate method.
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    Who is avoiding necessary health care during the COVID-19 pandemic?
    Zhang, Y ; Liu, J ; Scott, A (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2020-06-01)
    Australians experiencing high levels of financial stress and mental distress are not seeking needed health care. This study looks into what policies could help encourage greater use of necessary health care to improve wellbeing and avoid more expensive care later on.
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    Using health care during the pandemic: should I stay or should I go?
    Zhang, Y ; Liu, J ; Scott, A (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2020-09-01)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant financial and mental distress for many Australians, which according to results from Taking the Pulse of the Nation in early June, has caused some to avoid visiting a health care professional when needed. As the pandemic continues, are people still delaying seeing a doctor or has their been a resurgence in visits after people delayed their care earlier in the year? In this Research Insight, Professor Yuting Zhang, Dr. Judith Liu, and Professor Anthony Scott examine Australians' use of health care and telehealth, focusing on what changes have occured since early June. To understand how COVID-19 has impacted decision-making around seeing a health care professional, data from Taking the Pulse of the Nation have been used to see who has avoided seeing a doctor, who has sought health care, and who has used telehealth.
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    Who is ditching private health insurance during the pandemic?
    Zhang, Y ; Liu, J ; Scott, A (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2020-11-01)
    Following the recent increase in private health insurance (PHI) premiums in October, as well as people's growing financial and mental stresses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Australians may be wondering whether they should drop or downgrade their PHI. In this Research Insight, authors Professor Yuting Zhang, Dr Judith Liu, and Professor Anthony Scott examine how Australians have changed their PHI memberships during the pandemic. Using data from the Melbourne Institute's Taking the Pulse of the Nation survey, they look specifically at who has dropped, downgraded or upgraded their PHI since March 2020.