Primary care is important when it comes to preventing serious health problems. So why are fewer Americans seeing a PCP, even when they have insurance? Learn more about this issue and other related stories in this week's Insider News.
Between 2008 and 2016, the number of annual primary care visits for every 100 people with private health insurance declined by 22%, from 169.5 to 134.3, a study found. Over that same period, the proportion of adults who didn't see primary care providers at all rose from 38% to 46%. The steepest decline in primary care visits was among the youngest, healthiest individuals. The proportion of adults ages 18 to 34 without any primary care visits in a year rose from 48% to 57% during the study.
Among the oldest people in the study, ages 55 to 64, the proportion without primary care visits climbed from 27% to 34%. The average number of "problem-based" visits dropped from 154.5 for every 100 enrollees to 112.8. Visits for minor complaints also declined, from an average of 33.4 yearly visits per 100 members to 18.1. Preventive checkups increased by 41% from an average of 15.1 per 100 enrollees each year to 21.5 visits.
The Health Policy Commission (HPC) released its annual cost trends report, analyzing the drivers behind the 3.1% growth in total healthcare spending from 2017 to 2018. The report contains 15 policy recommendations, including proposals the commission has offered in previous years, like addressing administrative complexity, enhancing consumer protection against unexpected out-of-network charges, reducing unwarranted price variation across providers, and keeping affordability at the top of the state's healthcare agenda.
Among the new recommendations is a call for the state to increase spending on primary and behavioral healthcare. David Seltz, executive director of the HPC, says, "There is now growing and considerable evidence that health care systems that are oriented toward primary care provide greater value and access to patients."
PwC found 54% of consumers are willing to try an FDA-approved app or digital tool for the treatment of a medical condition. The survey also found:
77% of doctors have recommended an app or digital program to their patients
66% said that the app or digital program improved some part of the patient treatment experience
Several life science companies such as GlaxoSmithKline have teamed up with digital health companies to develop digital therapeutics, with more predicted to enter the space