Annals of Family Medicine

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Effect of Access to After-Hours Primary Care on the Association Between Home Nursing Visits and Same-Day Emergency Department Use [Original Research]

PURPOSE
Previous work has demonstrated that home care patients have an increased risk of visiting the emergency department after a home nursing visit on the same day. We investigated whether this association is modified by greater access to after-hours primary care.

METHODS
We conducted a population-based case-crossover study of home care patients in Ontario, Canada in 2014-2016. Emergency department visits after 5:00 pm were selected as case periods and matched, within the same patient, to control periods within the previous week. The association between home nursing visits and same-day emergency department visits was estimated with conditional logistic regression. Access to after-hours primary care, measured on the patient and practice level, was tested for effect modification using an interaction term approach. Analysis was performed separately for all emergency department visits and a less urgent subset not admitted to hospital.

RESULTS
A total of 11,840 patients contributed cases to the analysis. Patients with a history of after-hours primary care use had a smaller increased risk of a same-day after-hours emergency department visit (OR = 1.18; 95% CI, 1.06-1.30) compared with patients with no after-hours care (OR = 1.31; 95% CI, 1.25-1.39). The modifying effect was stronger among emergency department visits not admitted to hospital (OR = 1.11; 95% CI, 0.97-1.28 vs OR = 1.41; 95% CI, 1.31-1.51).

CONCLUSION
Greater access to after-hours primary care reduced the risk of less-urgent emergency department use associated with home nursing visits. These findings suggest increasing access to after-hours primary care could prevent some less-urgent emergency department visits.

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http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/short/18/5/406?rss=1

Perspectives Among Canadian Physicians on Factors Influencing Implementation of Mifepristone Medical Abortion: A National Qualitative Study [Original Research]

PURPOSE
Access to family planning health services in Canada has been historically inadequate and inequitable. A potential solution appeared when Health Canada approved mifepristone, the gold standard for medical abortion, in July 2015. We sought to investigate the factors that influence successful initiation and ongoing provision of medical abortion services among Canadian health professionals and how these factors relate to abortion policies, systems, and service access throughout Canada.

METHODS
We conducted 1-on-1 semistructured interviews with a national sample of abortion-providing and nonproviding physicians and health system stakeholders in Canadian health care settings. Our data collection, thematic analysis, and interpretation were guided by Diffusion of Innovation theory.

RESULTS
We conducted interviews with 90 participants including rural practitioners and those with no previous abortion experience. In the course of our study, Health Canada removed mifepristone restrictions. Our results suggest that Health Canada’s initial restrictions discouraged physicians from providing mifepristone and were inconsistent with provincial licensing standards, thereby limiting patient access. Once deregulated, remaining factors were primarily related to local and regional implementation processes. Participants held strong perceptions that mifepristone was the new standard of care for medical abortion in Canada and within the scope of primary care practice.

CONCLUSION
Health Canada’s removal of mifepristone restrictions facilitated the implementation of abortion care in the primary care setting. Our results are unique because Canada is the first country to facilitate provision of medical abortion in primary care via evidence-based deregulation of mifepristone.

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http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/short/18/5/413?rss=1

Assessing the Longitudinal Impact of Physician-Patient Relationship on Functional Health [Original Research]

PURPOSE
Access to a usual source of care is associated with improved health outcomes, but research on how the physician-patient relationship affects a patient’s health, particularly long-term, is limited. The aim of this study was to investigate the longitudinal effect of changes in the physician-patient relationship on functional health.

METHODS
We conducted a prospective cohort study using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS, 2015-2016). The outcome was 1-year change in functional health (12-Item Short-Form Survey). The predictors were quality of physician-patient relationship, and changes in this relationship, operationalized with the MEPS Primary Care (MEPS-PC) Relationship subscale, a composite measure with preliminary evidence of reliability and validity. Confounders included age, sex, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, insurance status, US region, and multimorbidity. We conducted analyses with survey-weighted, covariate-adjusted, predicted marginal means, used to calculate Cohen effect estimates. We tested differences in trajectories with multiple pairwise comparisons with Tukey contrasts.

RESULTS
Improved physician-patient relationships were associated with improved functional health, whereas worsened physician-patient relationships were associated with worsened functional health, with 1-year effect estimates ranging from 0.05 (95% CI, 0-0.10) to 0.08 (95% CI, 0.02-0.13) compared with –0.16 (95% CI, –0.35 to –0.03) to –0.33 (95% CI, –0.47 to –0.02), respectively.

CONCLUSION
The quality of the physician-patient relationship is positively associated with functional health. These findings could inform health care strategies and health policy aimed at improving patient-centered health outcomes.

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http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/short/18/5/422?rss=1

Trends in Total and Out-of-Pocket Expenditures for Visits to Primary Care Physicians, by Insurance Type, 2002-2017 [Original Research]

PURPOSE
Total and out-of-pocket visit expenditures for primary care physician visits may affect how primary care is delivered. We determined trends in these expenditures for visits to US primary care physicians.

METHODS
Using the 2002-2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we ascertained changes in total and out-of-pocket visit expenditures for primary care visits for Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. We calculated mean values for each insurer using a generalized linear model and a 2-part model, respectively.

RESULTS
Analyses were based on 750,837 primary care visits during 2002-2017. Over time, the proportion of primary care visits associated with private insurance or no insurance decreased, while Medicare- or Medicaid-associated visits increased. The proportion of visits with $0 out-of-pocket expenditure increased, primarily from an increase in $0 private insurance visits. Total expenditure per visit increased for private insurance and Medicare visits, but did not notably change for Medicaid visits. Out-of-pocket expenditures rose primarily from increases in private insurance visits with higher expenditures of this type. Medicare and Medicaid had minimal change in out-of-pocket expenditure per visit.

CONCLUSIONS
Between 2002 and 2017, mean total expenditures and out-of-pocket expenditures increased for primary care visits, but at notably lower rates than those previously documented for emergency department visits. A rise in total expenditure per visit was identified for private insurance and Medicare, but not for Medicaid. Out-of-pocket expenditures increased marginally related to changes in out-of-pocket expenditures for private insurance visits. We would expect increasing difficulty with primary care physician access, particularly for Medicaid patients, if the current trends continue.

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http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/short/18/5/430?rss=1

Telepsychiatric Consultation as a Training and Workforce Development Strategy for Rural Primary Care [Original Research]

PURPOSE
There is a shortage of rural primary care personnel with expertise in team care for patients with common mental disorders. Building the workforce for this population is a national priority. We investigated the feasibility of regular systematic case reviews through telepsychiatric consultation, within collaborative care for depression, as a continuous training and workforce development strategy in rural clinics.

METHODS
We developed and pilot-tested a qualitative interview guide based on a conceptual model of training and learning. We conducted individual semistructured interviews in 2018 with diverse clinical and nonclinical staff at 3 rural primary care sites in Washington state that used ongoing collaborative care and telepsychiatric consultation. Two qualitative researchers independently analyzed transcripts with iterative input from other research team members.

RESULTS
A total of 17 clinical, support, and administrative staff completed interviews. Participants’ feedback supported the view that telepsychiatric case review-based consultation enhanced skills of diverse clinical team members over time, even those who had not directly participated in case reviews. All interviewees identified specific ways in which the consultations improved their capacity to identify and treat psychiatric disorders. Perceived benefits in implementation and sustainability included fidelity of the care process, team resilience despite member turnover, and enhanced capacity to use quality improvement methods.

CONCLUSIONS
Weekly systematic case reviews using telepsychiatric consultation served both as a model for patient care and as a training and workforce development strategy in rural primary care sites delivering collaborative care. These are important benefits to consider in implementing the collaborative care model of behavioral health integration.

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http://www.annfammed.org/cgi/content/short/18/5/438?rss=1

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