Effect of Continuity of Care on Emergency Department Visits in Elderly Patients with Asthma in Taiwan

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Abstract

Background:

Continuity of care (COC) is positively associated with health care outcomes. However, the effect of COC on the reduction of asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits among older asthmatic patients is not clearly understood.

Methods:

We conducted a retrospective cohort study using the Taiwan nationwide health insurance claims database between 2004 and 2013. Patients aged 65 years with asthma during 2005 to 2011 were selected. The COC index (COCI) is used to measure the number of individual physicians a patient sees in the first year and we identified asthma-related ED visit in the subsequent year. Cox model was used to examine the hazard ratio (HR) between COC and an ED visit for asthma.

Results:

Among a total of 3395 subjects, the overall mean COC was 0.73, and 48.5% of subjects had perfect COC (COCI = 1). After controlling for covariables, in the group of patients with low COC, the risk of having an asthma-related ED visit was higher compared with those with perfect COC (Adjusted HR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.37−3.25).

Conclusions:

Elderly asthmatic patients with lower COC had a significantly higher likelihood of having asthma-related ED visits.

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