A new report released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) on March 6, 2012 shows that Canadians report an overall satisfaction with their primary health care, however many people with chronic diseases may not be obtaining the care they need to avoid hospitalization or emergency visits.
The report released by CIHI shows that while most people with selected chronic conditions— including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease—reported having a primary health care provider, twenty per cent had not actually seen their care provider in the past year. As well, one in eight people reported visiting emergency departments for a condition which could have been treated by their primary health care provider.
“Disparities in Primary Health Care Experiences Among Canadians with Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions uncovers barriers and challenges that exist, particularly for:
- Lower-income individuals: this group was less likely to be involved in clinical decisions made by their primary health care physician (47 per cent versus 66 per cent of those with higher incomes).
- Women were less likely than men to report receiving all four recommended tests for chronic disease monitoring (46 per cent versus 56 per cent) or to have medication side effects explained (56 per cent versus 65 per cent).
It is estimated that 6.8 million Canadians age 20 to 74 years are affected by chronic conditions. When these conditions are not addressed adequately at the primary care level, they can result in an estimated 95,000 hospitalizations and almost 13,000 deaths annually.
For more information go to www.cihi.ca.