US physicians fall behind international peers in care coordination

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American primary care providers are more siloed and less flexible than their counterparts abroad, according to a survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund.

The Commonwealth Fund surveyed more than 13,000 primary care providers in 11 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. The results offered insight into primary care practice behavior in each country. Here are some takeaways on primary care physicians in the U.S., compared to their international peers:

1. American PCPs are less flexible in when and where they are available to patients. About half as many U.S. physicians make home visits than physicians in other countries (37 percent versus 70 percent), and they were also less likely to provide care after hours.

2. American PCPs coordinate less with specialists, emergency rooms and social services. About half of American PCPs (49 percent) receive information from specialists about care plan changes for patients, and about half are told when a patient goes to the ER. For physicians abroad, at least 70 percent in Norway, France and New Zealand coordinate with specialists, and more than 80 percent in Norway and New Zealand hear when patients are admitted to the ER. The gap is similar for social services: About 40 percent of PCPs coordinate with community providers in the U.S., compared to 74 percent in Germany and 65 percent the U.K.

3. U.S. physicians did most frequently offer health IT tools for patient communication; however, they lagged in interoperable capabilities.

Read more here.

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