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US patients live longer in areas with more primary care doctors, study finds

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 20 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l804
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

US patients who live in areas with more primary care doctors have a 51.5 day higher life expectancy, a study has found. However, the number of primary care doctors per 100 000 population has decreased over a 10 year period.1

A major issue in healthcare is whether to invest in increasing the number of primary care physicians and whether this leads to better health outcomes and lower mortality. In the US doctors are drawn toward specialties that offer higher incomes than primary care.

Lower population mortality

A study by Sanjay Basu and colleagues from Stanford University, California, looked for associations between the supply of primary care doctors and mortality throughout the US. Primary care doctors were …

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