"The cumulative time spent by specialists on routine chronic care is not trivial," says the study's senior author David C. Miller, MD, an assistant professor of urology at the U-M Medical School. "As a urologic oncologist, I take care of many cancer survivors. With a detailed care plan constructed by the treating oncologist, much of the follow-up care for these patients could potentially be assumed by a primary care physician-directed medical home, with appropriate referral back to me if problems or questions arise."
The study analyzed data from the 2007 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey for seven chronic conditions: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/asthma, low back pain, diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease/congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease and depression. Researchers examined the time specialists spent with patients for direct and indirect follow-up care for those conditions.
The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.