The Commonwealth Fund recently conducted a survey of 11 high-income countries to analyze the effectiveness of primary care coordination practices.
As more providers adopt care coordination as a central aspect of patient care, there are bound to be some growing pains. And while coordinated care is generally proven to create positive outcomes, the study’s findings revealed that the United States is lagging behind other countries when it comes to quality.
The study surveyed health care experiences in 11 high-income countries. While the rate of poor primary care coordination was 5.2% overall, the United States saw the highest number with 9.8%.
The core of the survey consisted of five questions from the 2013 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey in which patients were asked whether, in the last two years:
Their test results or medical records were not available
They received conflicting information
Their doctors ordered a medical test they felt was unnecessary
Their specialist did not have basic medical information or test results from their regular doctor
After they saw their specialist, their regular doctor did not seem informed about the care they received
If more than one of these questions garnered a “yes” from patients, then it suggested poor coordination. However, the overall results suggested that better patient/provider relationships are the way to ensure quality coordination and better outcomes:
Adults with poor primary care coordination were more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to visit the emergency room for non-urgent and urgent care than people who did not report poor coordination. An established relationship with a regular physician was associated with better care coordination, indicating the ongoing benefits of strengthening primary care.