Quality primary care linked to fewer hospitalizations, even during a pandemic, study finds

Strengthening primary care systems directly reduces hospitalizations — even during a large-scale health event like a pandemic — a new study, published Jan. 21 in the Annals of Family Medicine, revealed.

When patients are able to access high-quality primary care services like screenings, immunization and other comprehensive facets of care, that care is associated with a reduction in hospitalizations, Japanese researchers who conducted the study found.

The research also underscores the importance of the continuity of care, which was a related factor also strongly correlated with reduced hospitalizations. 

"Our findings support policies that seek to strengthen the primary care systems in each country during and after the COVID-19 pandemic," the authors of the research wrote. 

A representative sample of more than 1,000 Japanese adults between 40 and 75 were closely studied from May 2021 through April 2022. Researchers closely tracked their interactions with primary care measures such as first contact, longitudinality, coordination, comprehensiveness and community orientation, and monitored them for any incidence of hospitalization during the research period. 

They detailed that further investigation into preventive care and management of chronic diseases, mental health and social health disparities is important for future research to look at.


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