In health systems worldwide, the provider-patient relationship is a central component of healthcare access and production. Provider continuity occurs when a patient is treated by the same provider over time, while provider discontinuity may reduce preventive care and chronic conditions management. This project seeks to understand how provider discontinuity may affect patient health-related behavior and outcomes of provider discontinuity by studying the US insured population, particularly Medicare and Medicaid patients. Researchers first examine discontinuity events, such as physician exits from the profession, physician relocations, and patient health plan switches that cause their physicians to become out-of-network. The project then compares discontinuity events to identify the mechanisms that contribute to patient healthcare delays. Findings will offer insights on ways to improve healthcare access, quality, and efficiency in the provider continuity context, and could serve as a benchmark for other countries with fragmented healthcare systems. Results forthcoming.
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