According to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund, nearly one in four U.S. primary care doctors said their practices aren’t well-prepared to care for patients with complex medical needs. Nitin Damle, a private practice physician in Wakefield, R.I., and president of the American College of Physicians, explains:
We really operate in different silos. We have the behavioral health system and we have the medical system and, really, the two don’t communicate that well.
Another finding emphasized that “better primary care requires better teamwork.”
The report exposed gaps in care coordination, communication, access to care and use of information technology across the 10 industrialized nations.
Only one in three U.S. doctors says he or she is always notified when a patient is discharged from the hospital or seen in the emergency department.
The report consists of data pulled from more than 11,000 primary care physicians in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Looking at how the US stacks up against other nations on metrics such as incidence of chronic disease (it has the highest) and care management (it’s in the middle or near the bottom of the pack), it’s not hard to see the need for improvement.
The full report was published in Health Affairs (registration required to review full report).