The aim of the study is to examine possible ethnic differences in the utilisation patterns of hospitalised immigrants versus patients born in Denmark. Data were obtained from the Register of Prevention at Statistics Denmark. This register includes both clinical and socio-demographic data. All patients discharged as inpatients during 1997 at Bispebjerg Hospital (a major hospital in Copenhagen) were identified through the Register of Prevention and linked to data concerning diagnosis, place of birth, age and gender. To compare immigrants with patients born in Denmark, a study group and a reference group were formed. The final study group consisted of all patients characterised by 22 major diagnostic categories and born outside the five Nordic countries (altogether 858 persons accounting for 976 inpatient contacts). The reference group consisted of 2004 patients accounting for 2432 inpatient contacts characterised by the same diagnostic categories among a random sample of 10,000 patients born in Denmark. The measure of utilisation employed was length of inpatient stay determined by the total number of days that each admission lasted. Data were analysed by a multiple regression analysis controlling for age, gender, diagnosis and place of birth. The results show that for some diagnostic groups, native Danes have longer inpatient stay compared to immigrants, whereas for other diagnostic groups immigrants have longer inpatient stay than native Danes. There was no overall effect of ethnicity on duration of hospital stay and consequently the utilisation patterns of inpatient care seem to reflect equal care for equal needs.
Keywords: Age Distribution; Demography; Denmark; Diagnosis-Related Groups; Emigration and Immigration; Ethnic Groups; Female; Hospitalization; Hospitals, Urban; Humans; Least-Squares Analysis; Length of Stay; Male; Random Allocation; Registries; Residence Characteristics; Sampling Studies; Sex Distribution; Social Class; Utilization Review