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The role of primary care attributes in preventing loss or change of usual source of care: a nationwide cohort study.

Family Practice 2024 Februrary 22
BACKGROUND: The existence of a stable usual source of care (USC) is fundamental to the provision of quality health care. However, no longitudinal studies have examined whether core primary care attributes influence the stability of USC status.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to examine the association between primary care attributes (first contact, longitudinality, coordination, comprehensiveness, and community orientation) and the loss or change of USC.

METHODS: This nationwide cohort study was conducted during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic using a representative sample of the Japanese adult population aged 40-75 years. The primary outcome measures were loss of USC and voluntary change in USC during the 12-month follow-up period. Primary care attributes were evaluated in the baseline survey using the Japanese version of Primary Care Assessment Tool (JPCAT).

RESULTS: Data were analyzed for 725 participants who had a USC at baseline. Among them, 93 (12.8 %) lost their USC and 46 (6.3%) changed their USC during the follow-up period. Multivariable multinominal logistic regression analyses showed that the JPCAT total score was associated with decreased loss of USC and change in USC. Among the JPCAT domains, longitudinality, comprehensiveness (services available), and community orientation were associated with reductions in both USC loss and change.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that primary care attributes play an important role in preventing the loss or change of USC and contribute to the stability of USC status. These findings provide additional rationale for policymakers, healthcare providers, and managers to seek to strengthen core attributes of primary care.

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