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Gaps in care remain for Canadians with chronic disease

What: Disparities in Primary Health Care Experiences Among Canadians With Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions

March 6, 2012—Despite a tendency to report overall satisfaction with their primary health care, Canadians living with chronic diseases may not be receiving all the care they need. A new report released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reveals that while most people with selected chronic conditions— including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease—reported having a primary health care provider, one in five had not seen a care provider in the past 12 months. One in eight reported visiting emergency departments for a condition they perceived as being treatable by their primary health care provider.

Disparities in Primary Health Care Experiences Among Canadians With Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions uncovers barriers and challenges that exist for two groups in particular.

  • Lower-income individuals were less likely to report that their primary health care physician involved them in clinical decisions (47% versus 66% of those with higher incomes).
  • Women were less likely than men to report receiving all four recommended tests for chronic disease monitoring (46% versus 56%) or to have medication side effects explained (56% versus 65%). Under embargo until March 6, 2012 3 p.m. (ET) Release Communiqué

An estimated 6.8 million Canadians age 20 to 74 are affected by these chronic conditions, which result in an estimated 95,000 hospitalizations and almost 13,000 deaths annually. Addressing the gaps in care highlighted in this report could lead to more appropriate care and to a more efficient health care system.

Media contacts: media@cihi.ca

Sandra Koppert
613-694-6280
Cell: 613-297-7792
skoppert@cihi.ca

About CIHI

Established in 1994, CIHI is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that provides essential information on Canada’s health system and the health of Canadians. Funded by federal, provincial and territorial governments, CIHI is guided by a Board of Directors made up of health leaders across the country. Our vision is to improve Canada’s health system and the well-being of Canadians by being a leading source of unbiased, credible and comparable information that will enable health leaders to make better-informed decisions.