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Health & Fit Seeing the Same Doctor a 'Matter of Life and Death'

16:51  29 june  2018
16:51  29 june  2018 Source:   newsweek.com

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Until now arranging for patients to see the doctor of their choice has been considered a matter of convenience or courtesy: now it is clear it is about the Our study shows it is potentially life -saving and should be prioritised." The study found that repeated patient- doctor contact is linked to fewer deaths .

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  Seeing the Same Doctor a 'Matter of Life and Death' © PeopleImages/Getty Images Advantages of seeing the same doctor include a lower risk of being hospitalized, according to researchers.

Seeing the same doctor is a “matter of life and death” for patients, according to the authors of a new study. 

In what is believed to be the first systematic review of how a patient seeing the same doctor over time may affect their risk of dying, researchers based in the U.K. analyzed all available studies on the topic.

The research involved 22 studies from nine countries with different cultures and healthcare systems. Overall, 82 percent of the studies showed patients who went back to the same physician had a lower chance of dying, compared to patients who visited different doctors.

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Seeing the same doctor (GP and specialists) over a number of years may be a matter of life and death , according to a study published today. A team of researchers looked at 22 studies from nine countries and found 18 that showed a marked link between continuity of care and lower death rates

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Data from Taiwan, South Korea, Canada, the U.S., U.K., Croatia, Taiwan, Israel and The Netherlands were taken into account in the review, published by BMJ Open.

The positive effect was repeated no matter the healthcare professional, from psychiatrist to surgeon, the authors said. 

Sir Denis Pereira Gray, emeritus professor at the University of Exeter and former president of the U.K.'s Royal College of General Practitioners, told Newsweek “many advantages” have previously been found to what is known as “continuity of care”: when a patient repeatedly sees the same doctors.

Patients who stick with a physician are generally more satisfied, more likely to listen to their doctor's advice and have a higher chance of taking preventative measures to protect their health—for instance immunizations. They are also less likely to be admitted to hospital.

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But he stressed: “Continuity of care is not a panacea but a desirable principle. Some patient-doctor relationships, like all other human relationships, may break down. Some doctors in all branches of medicine many have blind spots and make mistakes, even with patients they know well.”

The authors of the study hope their research will be used by health systems around the world, and encourage organizations to help patients be treated by the doctor of their choice.

Asked if patients should worry if they switch between doctors, he said: “No. That is inevitable is some health facilities. They should, however, as individuals and in patient groups, steadily press for arrangements that provide more continuity of care.”

Professor Dame Jane Dacre, the president of the U.K.’s Royal College of Practitioners who was not involved in the study, told Newsweek: "The doctor-patient relationship is the bedrock of clinical medicine."

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She said the study “supports the need for doctors to maintain their generalist skills—so they can provide high quality care to patients with many different conditions.”

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