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Commentary: Focus on continuity of primary care to achieve universal health coverage

Emphasizing continuity of primary health care in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) can help achieve equitable, high-quality care for all, states a recent commentary by Ariadne Labs staff published in BMJ Global Health.    

“Continuity” as a key tenet of effective primary health care and is defined as coherent, linked care between patients, families, communities, and providers throughout a lifespan. Continuity is also understanding individuals’ contexts to build trusting relationships overtime, states the commentary. In high-income settings, improved continuity has led to greater patient satisfaction, improved medication adherence, lower hospitalization rate, and lower mortality. However, efforts to improve or measure continuity in LMICs have been scant.

Establishing empanelment systems, which actively assign a primary care provider or team to a person, and community-based follow-up programs for patients can help improve continuity in LMIC health systems. Continuity should also receive more attention, measurement, and improvement efforts in order to achieve equitable, high-quality health for everyone, states the commentary.  

For additional insights, please read the commentary in BMJ Global Health.