Assessing the Regularity and Predictability of the Age-Trajectories of Healthcare Utilization
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This research examines the viability of a need-based approach that models the age-trajectories of healthcare utilization. We propose a fundamentally different way of treating age in modeling healthcare use. Rather than treating age as a need indicator, we refocus modeling efforts to predicting the age-trajectories of healthcare use. Using inpatient hospital utilization data from the Discharge Abstract Database, first, we model the age-trajectories of the rate of hospital use employing a common functional form. Second, we assess variation in these age-trajectories using growth curve modeling. Third, we explain variation in these age-trajectories using census variables. Our analysis shows that the regional variation in the age-trajectories of the rate of inpatient hospital use is sufficient to justify this method, and could be partially explained using census variables. This indicates that modeling age-trajectories of healthcare use is advantageous, and the current need-based approach may benefit from this new modeling strategy.
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