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bedrock of health care systems

Strong primary care systems are often viewed as the bedrock of health care systems that provide high-quality care, but the evidence supporting this view is somewhat limited. We analyzed comparative primary care data collected in 2009–10 as part of a European Union– funded project, the Primary Health Care Activity Monitor for Europe. Our analysis showed that strong primary care was associated with better population health; lower rates of unnecessary hospitalizations; and relatively lower socioeconomic inequality, as measured by an indicator linking education levels to self-rated health. Overall health expenditures were higher in countries with stronger primary care structures, perhaps because maintaining strong primary care structures is costly and promotes developments such as decentralization of services delivery. Comprehensive primary care was also associated with slower growth in health care spending. More research is needed to explore these associations further, even as the evidence grows that strong primary care in Europe is conducive to reaching important health system goals.Document Preview:

Primary Care By Dionne S. Kringos, Wienke Boerma, Jouke van der Zee, and Peter Groenewegen doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2012.1242 HEALTH AFFAIRS 32, NO. 4 (2013): 686–694 Europe’s Strong Primary Care ©2013 Project HOPE— The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc. Systems Are Linked To Better Population Health But Also To Higher Health Spending Dionne S. Kringos (d.s .kringos@amc.uva.nl) is a ABSTRACT Strong primary care systems are often viewed as the bedrock of postdoctoral health systems health care systems that provide high-quality care, but the evidence researcher in the Department of Social Medicine at the supporting this view is somewhat limited.We analyzed comparative Academic Medical Center, primary care data collected in 2009–10 as part of a European Union– University of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. funded project, the Primary Health Care Activity Monitor for Europe. Our analysis showed that strong primary care was associated with better Wienke Boerma is a senior researcher at NIVEL, the population health; lower rates of unnecessary hospitalizations; and Netherlands Institute for relatively lower socioeconomic inequality, as measured by an indicator Health Services Research, in Utrecht. linking education levels to self-rated health. Overall health expenditures were higher in countries with stronger primary care structures, perhaps Jouke van der Zee is a part- time professor in the because maintaining strong primary care structures is costly and Department of International promotes developments such as decentralization of services delivery. Health at Maastricht University, in the Netherlands. Comprehensive primary care was also associated with slower growth in health care spending. More research is needed to explore these Peter Groenewegen is the director of NIVEL. associations further, even as the evidence grows that strong primary care in Europe is conducive to reaching important health system goals. rimary care is the first level of pro- health of…

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