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Continuity of Care can Reduce Hospital Admissions, Study Finds

According to the new research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has found that seeing the same GP more often can lessen avoidable hospital admissions among older patients.

The Health Foundation conducted the research and looked at around 230,000 patients records aged between 62 and 82 years who had experienced at least two contacts with a GP between April 2011 and March 2013.

The research found that the older patients who saw the same GP most of the time were admitted to hospital 12 per cent less for conditions that could be treated in doctors’ surgeries than those who had a lower continuity of care. Patient with manageable conditions as diabetes, asthma, influenza and pneumonia accounted for 9 per cent fewer hospital admissions.

The director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, Adam Steventon said that this type of research is very important because it reveals that patients who more often see the same GP experience fewer admissions to hospital.

The BMJ research concluded that the tactics to improve the continuity of care in general practice may decrease secondary care costs, mainly for the heaviest users of healthcare. However, an increasing focus on improving access to primary care, such as the extension of opening hours, may have the unplanned effect of reducing continuity of care.

The chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said that the new research shows that the continuity of care can lead to both better health outcomes for patients, and reduced healthcare costs because of fewer hospital admissions.

He further added that the Good continuity of care can be particularly helpful to the growing number of patients who are living with multiple, long-term conditions.

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