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September/October 2012 Annals of Family Medicine tip sheet
Date:9/10/2012

Extended Office Hours Associated with Lower Health Expenditures

Patients who have access to a regular source of health care that offers evening and weekend hours have significantly lower health expenditures than those who do not. Analyzing data on more than 30,000 patients from the 2000-2008 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys, researchers found total expenditures were 10 percent lower among patients reporting access to extended hours in two successive years compared with those lacking such access. The researchers link the association to lower prescription drug and office visit-related (e.g., testing) expenditures. Importantly, the reduced expenditures did not have any apparent adverse effects on mortality. The authors call for future research to formally test their hypothesis that extended office hours may be associated with relatively judicious use of primary health care resources, including more generic medication prescribing and less discretionary testing.

Extended Office Hours and Health Care Expenditures: A National Study

By Anthony Jerant, MD, et al

University of California Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento

Cancer Survivors Express Concerns About Seeing Primary Care Physicians for Follow-Up Care

Nearly one-third of office visits for cancer are handled by primary care physicians, yet this study finds cancer survivors have concerns about seeing their primary care physician for cancer-related follow-up care. Exploring survivor preferences through in-depth interviews with 42 cancer patients, researchers found 52 percent expressed strong preferences to receive follow-up from their cancer specialists. They described several barriers to the primary care physician's engagement in follow-up, including 1) lack of cancer expertise, 2) limited or no involvement with original cancer care, and 3) lack of care continuity. Only one-third of participants (38 percent) believed there was a role for primary care clinicians
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Contact: Angela Sharma
asharma@aafp.org
913-269-2269
American Academy of Family Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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