In today’s healthcare environment, much emphasis is placed on the concept known as continuity of care because it is considered to be a factor that influences patients for the better. The basic ingredient to continuity of care is having a primary care physician (PCP) with whom you can develop a bond of understanding and trust. One medical authority describes continuity of care as follows:
“Making sure patients are well cared for throughout the system is an extremely important part of every health professional’s job. Frequently, during the course of an acute illness, patients move from one nurse to another, one doctor to another and one level of care to another. These transfers of care should occur smoothly and seamlessly without errors or omissions. This is called continuity of care, and unfortunately, it is one of the weakest aspects in our delivery of healthcare.”
Researchers at the Journal of Health Affairs found that patients with a PCP have a better management of chronic diseases, lower overall health care costs, and a higher level of satisfaction with their care. By developing a relationship with a PCP, you are ensuring that other physicians and medical staff within the practice also know your medical history. This health care team can more easily detect patterns in your health and recommend lifestyle changes to prevent future complications requiring expensive specialty care.
When continuity of care is a priority, your relationships with your health care providers are much more likely to be built on familiarity and trust. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) emphasizes the benefit of continuity of care as follows:
“The continuity of care inherent in family medicine helps family physicians gain their patients’ confidence and enables family physicians to be more effective patient advocates. It also facilitates the family physician’s role as a cost-effective coordinator of the patient’s health services by making early recognition of problems necessary.”
When you stop to think about it, the benefits of the continuity in your care are fairly clear. Your primary concern is, of course, that you receive the finest, most cost-effective health care available. Care continuity fosters an environment in which you and your providers come to know each other and understand each other’s expectations. Having a trusted relationship built on familiarity reduces redundancies such as being required to give a complete medical history every time you see the doctor.
Such a relationship also reduces errors. Some studies report that up to 80% of serious medical problems are the result of lack of communication during transition of care from one medical provider to another. Needless to say, miscommunication can yield dramatic and even tragic results: Adverse outcomes that cause increased hospital readmissions and unnecessary duplication of care which frequently also leads to increased medical costs.
One of the major drivers of the need for better continuity of care is the specialization of medicine, which results in restricted primary care availability. In fact, a 2013 study conducted by IMS Health (now QuintilesIMS) found that primary care physician office visits dropped by almost 1 percent from 2012 while visits to specialists increased 4.9 percent (9.5 percent for seniors). As a result, continuity of care for those patients became increasingly important as the need for accurate exchange of information and smooth transfer of care rose along with specialist visits.
Derry Medical Services is an independent medical option, which means it is owned by the physicians who tend to you and your loved ones. As a patient, knowing that the patient is always considered the priority is a valuable expectation.
- Ensuring that you and all your providers fully understand treatment.
- Communicating clearly with all members of the multi-disciplinary team assigned to your care, required appointments, follow-up and discharge.
- Providing discharge summaries that contain accurate, comprehensive information for when such info becomes necessary in the future.
Derry Medical Services is an independent medical option, which means it is owned by the physicians who tend to you and your loved ones. After all in our minds, the patient is always the priority.
DMC Primary Care offers what we believe to be the best primary care continuity possible and is linked with the equally lauded imaging provider, Derry Imaging. And, if you are interested in preventative care, we also have Derry Health and Wellness under our umbrella. No matter what problem you have, we can remedy it easily with the resources we’ve amassed. We hope to earn you as a lifelong patient.