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Impact of Comprehensive Primary Care in Patients With Complex Chronic Diseases: Nationwide Cohort Database Analysis in Korea.

BACKGROUND: More comprehensive healthcare services should be provided to patients with complex chronic diseases to better manage their complex care needs. This study examined the effectiveness of comprehensive primary care in patients with complex chronic diseases.

METHODS: We obtained 2002-2019 data from the National Health Insurance Sample Cohort Database. Participants were individuals aged ≥ 30 years with at least two of the following diseases: hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidemia. Doctors' offices were classified into specialized, functional, and gray-zone based on patient composition and major diagnostic categories. The Cox proportional hazard model was used to examine the association between office type and hospital admission due to all-causes, severe cardiovascular or cerebrovascular diseases (CVDs), hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or hyperlipidemia.

RESULTS: The mean patient age was 60.3 years; 55.8% were females. Among the 24,906 patients, 12.8%, 38.3%, and 49.0% visited specialized, functional, and gray-zone offices, respectively. Patients visiting functional offices had a lower risk of all-cause admission (hazard ratio [HR], 0.935; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.895-0.976) and CVD-related admission (HR, 0.908; 95% CI, 0.844-0.977) than those visiting specialized offices. However, the admission risks for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidemia were not significantly different among office types.

CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence of the effectiveness of primary care in functional doctors' offices for patients with complex chronic diseases beyond a single chronic disease and suggests the need for policies to strengthen functional offices providing comprehensive care.

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