Weak association between socioeconomic Care Need Index and primary care visits per registered patient in three Swedish regions

Anders Anell, Margareta Dackehag, Lina Maria Ellegård

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelPeer review


Objective: The objective was to examine the association between primary care consultations and a Care Need Index (CNI) used to compensate Swedish primary care practices for the extra workload associated with patients with low socioeconomic status. Design: Observational study combining graphical analysis with linear regressions of cross-sectional administrative practice-level data. Setting: Three Swedish regions, Västra Götaland, Skåne and Östergötland (3.5 million residents). Outcomes were measured in February 2018 and the CNI was computed based on data for 31 December 2017. Subjects: The unit of analysis was the primary care practice (n = 390). Main outcome measures: i) Number of GP visits per registered patient; ii) Number of nurse visits per registered patient; iii) Number of morbidity-weighted GP visits per registered patient; iv) Number of morbidity-weighted nurse visits per registered patient. Results: The linear associations between the CNI and GP visits per patient were positive and statistically significant (p<0.01) for both the unweighted and weighted measure in two regions, but the associations were mainly due to 10 practices with very high CNI values. The results for nurse visits varied across regions. Conclusions: For most levels of the CNI, there was no association with the number of consultations provided. This result may indicate insufficient compensation, weak incentives to spend the money, decisions to spend the money on other things than consultations, or stronger competition for patients among low-CNI practices. The result of this observational study should not be taken as evidence against the possibility that the CNI adjustment of capitation may have affected the socioeconomic equity in GP and nurse visits.Key Points Swedish primary care practices receive extra compensation for socioeconomically deprived patients but it is unknown how this affects service provision. Practice-level data from three regions years 2017-2018 indicate weak or no relation between the socioeconomic burden and the number of physical consultations per patient. Results are similar when adjusting for patients' morbidity levels, suggesting that the weak gradient was not explained by longer consultations. The exception is that a small number of practices with very high burdens provide more consultations per patient. The results may reflect insufficient compensation, lack of incentives, or funds being spent on other things than consultations.

Sidor (från-till)288-295
Antal sidor8
TidskriftScandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care
Tidigt onlinedatum2021
StatusPublicerad - 2021

Nationell ämneskategori

  • Hälso- och sjukvårdsorganisation, hälsopolitik och hälsoekonomi (30301)


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