Does patients’ experience of general practice affect the use of emergency departments? Evidence from Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Health Policy, 2018, 122 (2), pp. 126 - 133
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© 2017 Elsevier B.V. AS Emergency Department (ED) attendances have been growing rapidly, various strategies have been employed in Australia to improve access to General Practitioner (GP) care, particularly after normal working hours, in order to reduce the demand for ED. However, there has been little attention paid to the quality of GP care and whether that influences ED attendances. This paper investigates whether ED use is affected by patients’ experience of GP care, using the logit model to analyse data from a survey of Australian consumers (1758 individuals). Not surprisingly, we find that people with poor health status and a greater number of chronic conditions are more likely to visit the ED. We also find that, after correcting for health status and sociodemographic factors, patients with a better GP experience are less likely to visit the ED. This suggests that policies aimed at improving the quality of primary care are also important in reducing unplanned hospital use.
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