Comprehensive primary care, accessibility and continuity can reduce hospitalizations

Comprehensive primary care, accessibility and continuity can reduce hospitalizations

Japanese researchers examined the association between primary care practice characteristics and total hospitalizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. They conducted a nationwide study and examined data from 1,161 participants ages 40-75.

They assessed the quality of primary care attributes, including first contact between the patient and a primary care clinician, length of care, care coordination, comprehensiveness and the clinic’s orientation in the community. Researchers primarily sought to identify any hospitalizations among participants during a 12-month period between May 2021 and April 2022.

Each primary care attribute—such as accessibility, continuity, coordination and comprehensiveness—was associated with a reduction in hospitalizations. High-quality primary care was associated with decreased total hospitalizations, even during a pandemic when there are many barriers to providing routine medical care.

The authors argued that these findings support policies intended to strengthen primary care systems during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The integration of public health practice with the delivery of primary care services may be a more important process, especially during a pandemic.

The study is published in The Annals of Family Medicine.

More information:
Takuya Aoki et al, Impact of Primary Care Attributes on Hospitalization During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Nationwide Prospective Cohort Study in Japan, The Annals of Family Medicine (2023). DOI: 10.1370/afm.2894

Journal information:
Annals of Family Medicine

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