** This post is a press release from the University of California – San Francisco.**
Findings showed patient-physician time in the
“The substantially shorter time per capita in the
Previous cross-national research has demonstrated that a strong primary care infrastructure is associated with better health outcomes and lower health costs, said Bindman, who is professor of medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF and chief of general internal medicine at
The researchers used data from an independent survey of primary care physicians in each country and compared mix of patients, diagnoses, scope of practice, and duration of patient visits. Duration of a visit was counted as face-to-face time between the patient and physician and excluded time spent waiting, receiving care from someone other than the physician, and documenting care in a medical record.
Other study findings include:
• The types of medical problems seen in primary care practice were very similar in all three countries, but the
• Of the three countries,
• In each country, primary care physicians dealt with an average of 1.4 problems per visit.
• The range of problems managed in primary care is narrower in the
• In the
• The average duration of a visit was about 10 percent longer in the US (16.5 minutes) in comparison to New Zealand (15 minutes) and Australia (14.9 minutes), but Americans had fewer visits, making the US annual per capita average the lowest of the three countries.
One of the fundamental questions in analyzing how health care is organized and funded is the role of primary care, and comparison among countries presents the opportunity to learn from “natural experiments” on how primary care can contribute to effective health care systems, the research team noted in their summary of the study.
Bindman said there is an impending crisis in primary care in the
The study covered data from 79,790 office-based visits for primary care in