Patients with a usual GP report better information sharing between providers

Patients without a usual General Practitioner are more likely to experience a lack of information sharing between their health providers, according to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Coordination of health care: experiences of information sharing between providers for patients aged 45 and over, presents data from the 2016 Survey of Health Care.

The survey focused on understanding experiences of coordination of care by patients aged 45 and over who visited a General Practitioner between November 2014 and November 2015.

‘People with no usual GP were three times as likely as those who had a usual GP to report that their usual place of care did not seem informed about their most recent specialist visit,’ said AIHW spokesperson Mr Richard Juckes.

‘They were also twice as likely to report that their usual place of care did not seem informed about their follow-up needs or medication changes following a visit to the emergency department.’

The good news is that nearly all (98%) patients say their GP is aware of their health-care history.

‘The sharing of health information between health professionals and across care settings is an essential component of health-care management and continuity of care,’ Mr Juckes said.

‘Having access to complete information about a patient’s health history enables providers to deliver care that is appropriate, current, and meets a patient’s needs.’

Patients living in remote areas were more likely to feel that their usual GP or place of care was not informed of their visits to other providers.

Compared with patients in Major cities, patients in Remote/Very remote areas were more likely to report that:

  • their usual GP or place of care was not informed after their most recent visit to a specialist (10% and 19%, respectively).
  • there was at least one time when their specialist doctor did not have their medical information or test results (8% compared with 15%).

The report includes survey results for all Primary Health Networks across Australia. The Survey of Health Care was developed by the AIHW and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as part of the Coordination of Health Care Study.  

The report is the second in the AIHW’s coordination of health care series. The first report,

Coordination of health care: experiences with GP care among patients aged 45 and over 2016, looked

at ongoing relationships between patients and their usual GP or place of care.

Media enquiries:  AIHW 02 6244 1148 [email protected]