The aim of this study is to clarify whether there is small area variation in the use of gastrostomy that is explained by hospital physician density, so as to detect the existence of supplier-induced demand (SID).
The study design is a retrospective cohort using claim data of Fukuoka Late Elders’ Health Insurance, submitted from 2010 to 2013. Study participants included 51,785 older adults who had been diagnosed with eating difficulties. We designated use of gastrostomy as an event. Multilevel logistic analyses were then used to investigate the existence of SID.
After controlling for patient factors, we found significant regional level variance in gastrectomy use (median odds ratio [MOR]: 1.72, 1.37–2.51). Hospital physician density was significantly positively related with gastrostomy (adjusted OR of hospital physician density: 1.75, 1.25–2.45; P < 0.001). MORs were largely reduced for the input variable of hospital physician density.
We found that the small area variation in use of gastrostomy among older adults could be explained by hospital physician density, which might indicate the existence of SID.