Primary care physicians highlight care coordination gaps in new study

January 10, 2016

Primary care physicians in 10 industrialized countries say that their health systems have problems caring for patients with complex needs, according to a report in the December issue of Health Affairs.

Primary care physicians in 10 industrialized countries say that their health systems have problems caring for patients with complex needs, according to a report in the December issue of Health Affairs.

Making care transitions work as an outpatient-only physician
While the study explored a number of countries, primary care physicians in the United States focused on this country’s care challenges, including chronic care management, care coordination, and use of health information technology.

The data shows that the U.S. health system especially struggled in one area: care coordination and communication between different silos within the healthcare continuum.
For example, only 31% of U.S. physicians surveyed said that they are always notified when one of their patients is discharged from the hospital.
“Substantial numbers of primary care doctors reported that their practices are less than well prepared to manage the care of patients with complex needs and that their patients face ongoing gaps in access and care coordination,” the authors write.

Next: Improving payment models

 


The authors conclude that while the United States has begun efforts to improve this-including provisions in the Affordable Care Act, payment models such as the patient-centered medical home, and meaningful use incentives for electronic health record use-policy makers must also continue to strengthen primary care.


“To succeed, the United States may need to do more to strengthen primary care, with policy makers keeping an open mind about new ideas.”
The study was supported by The Commonwealth Fund, and the data came from the 2015 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Physicians.

Further reading: Making EHR alerts work for your practice