Migrants' utilization of somatic healthcare services in Europe - a systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Background: Utilization of services is an important aspect of migrants' access to healthcare. The aim was

to review the European literature on utilization of somatic healthcare services related to screening,

general practitioner, specialist, emergency room and hospital by adult first-generation migrants. Our

study question was: ‘Are there differences in migrants' utilization of somatic healthcare services

compared to non-migrants?' Methods: Publications were identified by a systematic search of

PUBMED and EMBASE. Appropriateness of the studies was judged independently by two researchers

based on the abstracts. Additional searches were conducted via the references of the selected articles.

The final number of studies included was 21. Results: The results suggested a diverging picture

regarding utilization of somatic healthcare services by migrants compared to non-migrants in Europe.

Overall, migrants tended to have lower attendance and referral rates to mammography and cervical

cancer screening, more contacts per patient to general practitioner but less use of consultation by

telephone, and same or higher level of use of specialist care as compared to non-migrants.

Emergency room utilization showed both higher, equal and lower levels of utilization for migrants

compared to non-migrants, whereas hospitalization rates were higher than or equal to non-migrants.

Conclusion: Our review illustrates lack of appropriate epidemiological data and diversity in the

categorization of migrants between studies, which makes valid cross-country comparisons most

challenging. After adjusting for socio-economic factors and health status, the existing studies still

show systematic variations in somatic healthcare utilization between migrants and non-migrants.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)555-63
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ID: 17270007