Study: Continuous Ambulatory Care Lowers Preventable Geriatric Admissions

Continuity of ambulatory care visits greatly reduces preventable hospitalizations among adults age 65 and older, according to an article in the JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers tracked preventable hospital admissions for more than 3.2 million Medicare beneficiaries with at least four ambulatory care visits in 2008 for 24 months after their 2008 visits. With this data, they created a score to describe continuity of care for each patient.

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Of the 12.6 percent of patients who experienced a preventable hospitalization during the 24 month follow-up period, one-quarter were hospitalized for congenital heart failure, 22.7 percent were hospitalized for bacterial pneumonia, 14.9 percent were hospitalized for a urinary tract infection and 12.5 percent were hospitalized for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Researchers determined a 0.1 increase on the researcher-devised continuity of care score as measured by number of ambulatory care visits and provider continuity was associated with a 2 percent decrease in rates of preventable hospitalization, though it was not associated with mortality rates.

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