Medical College of Wisconsin
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A Description of Theoretical Models for Health Service Utilization: A Scoping Review of the Literature. Inquiry 2023;60:469580231176855



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85160499251 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   1 Citation


Theoretical models to explain health service utilization are numerous and there is no known literature that has synthesized existing models for health service utilization. Systematic searches were conducted in PubMed, MEDLINE, PsychINFO, Scopus, and CINAHL databases from 1960 through May 2021. Literature theorizing models/frameworks for health service utilization were included. Multiple investigators screened citations and full texts. Data extracted included: (1) citation information, (2) purpose of models, and (3) major constructs of models. The search retrieved 6639 citations. A total of 34 articles were eligible for this review. Theoretical models were categorized into 4 thematic domains based on the purpose of the model: (1) generalized health service utilization, (2) health service utilization with respect to specific sociodemographic determinants of health, (3) health service utilization specific to illness or health disciplines, and (4) preventive health services/screenings. There was an increase in models developed over time with a trend toward model development specific to sociodemographic determinants of health, illness, and/or health disciplines. This review cataloged theoretical models for health service utilization by thematic domain to enhance the identification and critical review of existing models. Findings support the notion that theoretical pluralism has been adopted in the field of health service utilization.

Author List

Gliedt JA, Spector AL, Schneider MJ, Williams J, Young S


Jordan Gliedt DC Assistant Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Joni Williams MD, MPH Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Staci A. Young PhD Sr Associate Dean, Associate Director, Professor in the Family Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Health Services
Health Services Accessibility
Models, Theoretical