Seeing the same physician regularly leads to better preventive care

July 16, 2004

According to a new study, adults who regularly visit the same doctor for health care are most likely to receive better preventive treatment, like vaccines for influenza or breast cancer screening. The results support the conclusion that provider continuity is related to improved health care outcomes for patients.

A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine analyzed the association between three categories of medical care and resulting measures of preventive medicine, placing emphasis on health promotion through primary care practice. In tracking data from households in over sixty communities across the United States, researchers assessed preventive measures offered to persons with varied health care habits, ranging from visits with a regular provider to no regular place of care at all.

Influenza vaccinations and mammography were the two types of care offered significantly more to adults with a regular doctor and visits to the same health care site. An increase in receipt of advice on smoking cessation was also observed. Potential reasoning for these effects pointed to "trust" as a likely link between physician continuity and adherence to recommendations. Similar studies lend weight to these results that provider continuity is related to improved outcomes in care. Examples include reductions in hospitalization and emergency room visits.

"Current trends in health care delivery, including involuntary disenrollment from health insurance coverage, the emergence of managed care and larger physician groups, and the use of physician extenders, are diminishing opportunities for provider continuity," states corresponding author, Dr. Mark P. Doescher. "Our research provides support for efforts to reverse this trend."
Media wishing to receive a pdf of this article please contact

About the Author

Dr. Mark P. Doescher is the Associate Project Director on "King County Steps to Health", a CDC-funded project to reduce the burden of asthma, diabetes and obesity among low-income residents of South Seattle and adjacent suburbs. He received an M.D. from the University of California-San Francisco and currently provides primary care and teaches resident physicians and medical students at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA. Dr. Doescher is available for questions and interviews and can be reached at or 206-616-9207.

About the Journal of General Internal Medicine The Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM) is the official scientific publication of the Society of General Internal Medicine, whose mission is to promote improved patient care, research, and education in primary care and general internal medicine. JGIM articles focus on topics such as clinical research, curriculum development, epidemiology, prevention, and health care delivery in general internal medicine.

About Blackwell Publishing

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading, independent society publisher with offices in the US, UK, Japan, Denmark, Australia, and Germany. Blackwell publishes over 700 journals in partnership with more than 550 academic and professional societies.

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Related Health Care Articles from Brightsurf:

Study evaluates new World Health Organization Labor Care Guide for maternity care providers
The World Health Organization developed the new Labor Care Guide to support clinicians in providing good quality, women-centered care during labor and childbirth.

Six ways primary care "medical homes" are lowering health care spending
New analysis of 394 U.S. primary care practices identifies the aspects of care delivery that are associated with lower health care spending and lower utilization of emergency care and hospital admissions.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

Spending on primary care vs. other US health care expenditures
National health care survey data were used to assess the amount of money spent on primary care relative to other areas of health care spending in the US from 2002 to 2016.

MU Health Care neurologist publishes guidance related to COVID-19 and stroke care
A University of Missouri Health Care neurologist has published more than 40 new recommendations for evaluating and treating stroke patients based on international research examining the link between stroke and novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Large federal program aimed at providing better health care underfunds primary care
Despite a mandate to help patients make better-informed health care decisions, a ten-year research program established under the Affordable Care Act has funded a relatively small number of studies that examine primary care, the setting where the majority of patients in the US receive treatment.

International medical graduates care for Medicare patients with greater health care needs
A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital research team indicates that internal medicine physicians who are graduates of medical schools outside the US care for Medicare patients with more complex medical needs than those cared for by graduates of American medical schools.

The Lancet Global Health: Improved access to care not sufficient to improve health, as epidemic of poor quality care revealed
Of the 8.6 million deaths from conditions treatable by health care, poor-quality care is responsible for an estimated 5 million deaths per year -- more than deaths due to insufficient access to care (3.6 million) .

Under Affordable Care Act, Americans have had more preventive care for heart health
By reducing out-of-pocket costs for preventive treatment, the Affordable Care Act appears to have encouraged more people to have health screenings related to their cardiovascular health.

High-deductible health care plans curb both cost and usage, including preventive care
A team of researchers based at IUPUI has conducted the first systematic review of studies examining the relationship between high-deductible health care plans and the use of health care services.

Read More: Health Care News and Health Care Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to