Urban–rural and socioeconomic status: Impact on multimorbidity prevalence in hospitalized patients

Lynn Robertson* (Corresponding Author), Dolapo Ayansina, Marjorie Johnston, Angharad Marks, Corri Black

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective:The aim of this study was to describe multimorbidity prevalence in hospitalized adults, by urban?rural area of residence and socioeconomic status (SES).Methods:Linked hospital episode data were used. Adults (≥18 years) admitted to hospital as an inpatient during 2014 in Grampian, Scotland, were included. Conditions were identified from admissions during the 5 years prior to the first admission in 2014. Multimorbidity was defined as ≥2 conditions and measured using Tonelli et al. based on International Classification of Diseases-10 coding (preselected list of 30 conditions). We used proportions and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to summarize the prevalence of multimorbidity by age group, sex, urban?rural category and deprivation. The association between multimorbidity and patient characteristics was assessed using the ? 2 test.Results:Forty one thousand five hundred and forty-five patients were included (median age 62, 52.6% female). Overall, 27.4% (95% CI 27.0, 27.8) of patients were multimorbid. Multimorbidity prevalence was 28.8% (95% CI 28.1, 29.5) in large urban versus 22.0% (95% CI 20.9, 23.3) in remote rural areas and 28.7% (95% CI 27.2, 30.3) in the most deprived versus 26.0% (95% CI 25.2, 26.9) in the least deprived areas. This effect was consistent in all age groups, but not statistically significant in the age group 18?29 years. Multimorbidity increased with age but was similar for males and females.Conclusion:Given the scarcity of research into the effect of urban?rural area and SES on multimorbidity prevalence among hospitalized patients, these findings should inform future research into new models of care, including the consideration of urban?rural area and SES.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comorbidity
Early online date20 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • hospitalization
  • multimorbidity
  • prevalance
  • socioeconomic status
  • urban–rural
  • electronic health records


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