BMC Geriatr. 2022 Sep 2;22(1):724. doi: 10.1186/s12877-022-03407-7.
INTRODUCTION: People with dementia have high rates of hospitalization, and a share of these hospitalizations might be avoidable with appropriate ambulatory care, also known as potentially preventable hospitalization (PAH). This study investigates the associations between continuity of care and healthcare outcomes in the following year, including all-cause hospitalization, PAHs, and healthcare costs in patients with dementia.
METHODS: This is a longitudinal retrospective cohort study of 69,658 patients with dementia obtained from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. The Continuity of Care Index (COCI) was calculated to measure the continuity of dementia-related visits across physicians. The PAHs were classified into five types as defined by the Medicare Ambulatory Care Indicators for the Elderly (MACIEs). Logistic regression models were used to examine the effect of COCI on all-cause hospitalizations and PAHs, while generalized linear models were used to analyze the effect of COCI on outpatient, hospitalization, and total healthcare costs.
RESULTS: The high COCI group was significantly associated with a lower likelihood of all-cause hospitalization than the low COCI group (OR = 0.848, 95%CI: 0.821-0.875). The COCI had no significant effect on PAHs but was associated with lower outpatient costs (exp(β) = 0.960, 95%CI: 0.941 ~ 0.979), hospitalization costs (exp(β) = 0.663, 95%CI: 0.614 ~ 0.717), total healthcare costs (exp(β) = 0.962, 95%CI: 0.945-0.980).
CONCLUSION: Improving continuity of care for dementia-related outpatient visits is recommended to reduce hospitalization and healthcare costs, although there was no statistically significant effect of continuity of care found on PAHs.