Do hospitalisations for ambulatory care sensitive conditions reflect low access to primary care? An observational cohort study of primary care usage prior to hospitalisation

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Abstract

Objectives To explore whether hospitalisations for ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs) are associated with low access to primary care. Design Observational cohort study over 2008 to 2012 using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) and Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) databases. setting English primary and secondary care. Participants A random sample of 300 000 patients. Main outcome measures Emergency hospitalisation for an ACSC. results Over the long term, patients with ACSC hospitalisations had on average 2.33 (2.17 to 2.49) more general practice contacts per 6 months than patients with similar conditions who did not require hospitalisation. When accounting for the number of diagnosed ACSCs, age, gender and GP practice through a nested case-control method, the difference was smaller (0.64 contacts), but still significant (p<0.001). In the short-term analysis, measured over the 6 months prior to hospitalisation, patients used more GP services than on average over the 5 years. Cases had significantly (p<0.001) more primary care contacts in the 6 months before ACSC hospitalisations (7.12, 95% CI 6.95 to 7.30) than their controls during the same 6 months (5.57, 95% CI 5.43 to 5.72). The use of GP services increased closer to the time of hospitalisation, with a peak of 1.79 (1.74 to 1.83) contacts in the last 30 days before hospitalisation. conclusions This study found no evidence to support the hypothesis that low access to primary care is the main driver of ACSC hospitalisations. Other causes should also be explored to understand how to use ACSC admission rates as quality metrics, and to develop the appropriate interventions. bAckgrOunD Chronic ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs) are conditions like diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and angina that are cared for in the community by primary care providers. 1-3 With high-quality primary care-which is timely, 4 5 effective, 4 continuous 5-8 and accessible 1 9-15-the need

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Vuik, S. I., Fontana, G., Mayer, E., & Darzi, A. (2017). Do hospitalisations for ambulatory care sensitive conditions reflect low access to primary care? An observational cohort study of primary care usage prior to hospitalisation. BMJ Open, 7(8). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-015704

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