Primary care and avoidable hospitalizations: evidence from Brazil.

Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger, Brasilia, Brazil.
The Journal of ambulatory care management 32(2):115-22. DOI: 10.1097/JAC.0b013e31819942e51
Source: PubMed


This article provides evidence of the effectiveness of family-based, community-oriented primary healthcare programs on the reduction of ambulatory care sensitive hospitalizations in Brazil. Between 1998 and 2002, expansions of the Family Health Program were associated with reductions in hospitalizations for diabetes mellitus and respiratory problems and Community Health Agents Program expansions were associated with reductions in circulatory conditions hospitalizations. Results were significant for only the female population only, suggesting that these programs were more effective in reaching women than men. Program coverage may have contributed to an estimated 126 000 fewer hospitalizations between 1999 and 2002, corresponding to potential savings of 63 million US dollars.

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    • "The greater reduction in sensitive condition hospitalizations for women was also found in studies of three groups of preventable chronic illnesses in Brazil (Guanais and Macinko 2009). Assuming that this difference is at least in part due to the greater contact of the FHS with women, these findings indicate the need for improving access for men to primary care/ FHS so that they too may enjoy benefits such as reduction of hospitalizations for complications of chronic diseases. "
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    ABSTRACT: How to provide effective and efficient care to the burgeoning and aging populations of the major cities of low- and middle-income countries constitutes one of the principle public health issues of our times. We evaluated the Family Health Strategy, the Brazilian national health system's public approach to primary health care, in the major city of Belo Horizonte, describing trends and factors associated with hospitalizations for primary care sensitive conditions following the implementation of 506 family health teams, most of which were established in 2002. We conducted an ecological study covering 2003 to 2006, using mixed models to investigate time trends in public system hospitalizations as well as their association with social vulnerability and primary care team characteristics. Sensitive conditions accounted for 115,340 (26.4%) hospitalizations. Over the 4-year period, hospitalizations for sensitive conditions declined by 17.9%, vs only 8.3% for non-sensitive ones (P<0.001). Hospitalization for sensitive conditions declined 22% for women in areas of high social vulnerability vs 9% for women in areas of low vulnerability (P<0.001); for men, 17% vs 10% (P=0.11). Though the ecologic nature of our study limits the confidence with which conclusions can be affirmed, the Family Health Strategy appears to have contributed to a major reduction in hospitalizations due to primary care sensitive conditions in this large Brazilian metropolis, while at the same time promoting greater health equity.
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    ABSTRACT: Hospitalizations for ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSH) have been proposed as an indirect indicator of the effectiveness and quality of care provided by primary health care. To investigate the association of ACSH rates with population socioeconomic factors and with characteristics of primary health care. Cross-sectional, ecologic study. Using hospital discharge data, ACSH were selected from the list of conditions validated for Spain. All 34 health districts in the Region of Madrid, Spain. Individuals aged 65 years or older residing in the region of Madrid between 2001 and 2003, inclusive. Age- and gender-adjusted ACSH rates in each health district. The adjusted ACSH rate per 1000 population was 35.37 in men and 20.45 in women. In the Poisson regression analysis, an inverse relation was seen between ACSH rates and the socioeconomic variables. Physician workload was the only health care variable with a statistically significant relation (rate ratio of 1.066 [95% CI; 1.041-1.091]). These results were similar in the analyses disaggregated by gender. In the multivariate analyses that included health care variables, none of the health care variables were statistically significant. ACSH may be more closely related with socioeconomic variables than with characteristics of primary care activity. Therefore, other factors outside the health system must be considered to improve health outcomes in the population.
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