This is Science Today. Dr. Andrew Bindman of the
University of California, San Francisco did a study
showing that people with chronic medical conditions
are less likely to wind up in the hospital if they
have regular access to a primary care provider --
a doctor or nurse practitioner. There are two reasons.
One is that, when you're chronically ill, a provider
who's familiar with your case knows how to treat
a flare-up in your condition without hospitalizing
Bindman: The other thing is that with ongoing primary care, patients will learn to identify at earlier stages when they may be having a decline in their health, and to also learn self-management techniques so that they can take care of the problem better on their own before needing to go to the doctor.
Narrator: Bindman found that people in low income communities generally had higher rates of hospitalization. But some poorer neighborhoods had much higher rates than others.
Bindman: And that may be because some low income communities provide public clinics, for example, that may improve the access to care in those communities, and that can make a real difference in the likelihood of needing to be hospitalized.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Steve Tokar.