The quality of primary care provided to the elderly in Israel

Rachel Podell, Vered Kaufman Shriqui, Yael Wolff Sagy, Orly Manor, Arie Ben-Yehuda

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8 Scopus citations


Background: In view of increasing global and local trends in population ageing and the high healthcare utilization rates among the elderly, this study assesses the quality of primary care provided to the elderly population in Israel. It examines changes in quality over time, how quality varies across sub-groups of the elderly, and how quality in Israel compares with other countries. Data originate from the National Program for Quality Indicators in Community Healthcare (QICH), which operates in full collaboration with Israel's four HMOs. Methods: The study population included all elderly Israeli residents aged 65 years or older during 2002-2015 (N = 879,671 residents in 2015). Seven elderly-specific quality indicators from within the QICH framework were included: influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations, benzodiazepine overuse, long-acting benzodiazepine use, body weight documentation, weight loss and underweight. In addition, two non-age specific quality indicators relating to diabetes mellitus were included: the rate of HbA1C documentation and uncontrolled diabetes. Data were collected from patient electronic medical records (EMR) in accordance with each HMO, and aggregated by three variables: gender, age, and socio-economic position (SEP). Results: During the measurement period, vaccination rates significantly increased (Influenza: from 42.0% in 2002 to 63.2% in 2015; and pneumococcal vaccination: from 25.8% in 2005 to 77.0% in 2015). Body weight documentation (in 65-74 year old persons) increased from only 16.3% in 2003 to 80.9% in 2015. The rate of underweight (BMI < 23 kg/m2) and significant weight-loss (10% or more of their body weight) was only measured in 2015. The overall rate of benzodiazepine overuse remained steady from 2011 to 2015 at around 5%, while the rate of long-acting benzodiazepine use decreased from 3.8% in 2011 to 2.4% in 2015. The rate of HbA1c documentation for elderly diabetics was higher than for non-elderly diabetics in 2015 (92.2% vs 87.9%). The rate of uncontrolled diabetes was lower for the elderly than the non-elderly population in 2015 (6.9% vs. 15.7%). Gender disparities were observed across all measures, after age stratification, with worse indicator rates among females compared to males. SEP-disparities were not consistent across measures. In all indicators except benzodiazepine overuse, Israel showed a higher quality of care for the elderly in comparison with the international healthcare community. Conclusions: Overall, the quality of care received by elderly Israelis has improved substantially since measurements first began; yet, females receive lower quality care than males. Monitoring results of primary care quality indicators can contribute to population's successful aging; both chronic conditions at earlier ages (e.g. diabetes), and short-term hazardous conditions such as the use of potentially harmful medications and weight loss should be evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 4 Jun 2018


  • Benzodiazepine overuse
  • Community healthcare
  • Elderly health
  • Gender disparities
  • Quality indicators
  • Underweight
  • Vaccinations


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