Okuyama, Kenta Center for Community-based Healthcare Research and Education (CoHRE), Organization for Research and Academic Information, Shimane University, Izumo City, Shimane, Japan
Although primary care access is known to be an important factor when seeking care, its effect on individual health risk has not been evaluated by an appropriate spatial measure. This study examined whether geographic accessibility to primary care assessed by a sophisticated form of spatial measure is associated with a risk of hypertension and its treatment status among Japanese people in rural areas, where primary care is not yet established as specialization. We used an enhanced two-step floating catchment area method to calculate the neighborhood residential unit-level primary and secondary care accessibility for 52,029 subjects who participated in the 2015 annual health checkup held at 15 cities in Shimane Prefecture. Their hypertension level and treatment status were examined crosssectionally with their neighborhood primary care and secondary care accessibility (computed with two separate distance-decay weight: slow and quick) by multivariable logistic regression controlling for demographics and neighborhood income level. The findings showed that greater geographic accessibility to primary care was associated with a decreased risk of hypertension in both slow and quick distance-decay weight, odds ratio (OR) = 0.989 (95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.984, 0.994), OR = 0.989 (95%CI = 0.984, 0.993), respectively. On the other hand, better secondary care accessibility was associated with an increased risk of hypertension and untreated hypertension; however, the effect of secondary care was mitigated by the effect of primary care accessibility in both slow and quick distance-decay model, hypertension: OR = 0.974 (95% CI = 0.957, 0.991), OR = 0.981 (95%CI = 0.970, 0.991), untreated hypertension: OR = 0.970 (95%CI = 0.944, 0.996), OR = 0.975 (95%CI = 0.959, 0.991), respectively.
In addition, the results revealed that young and fit people were at a higher risk of untreated hypertension, which is a unique finding in the context of the Japanese healthcare system. Our findings indicate the importance of primary care even in Japan, where it is not yet established, and also emphasize the need for a culturally specific perspective in health equity.
Faculty of Medicine