Sticking with the same doctor could help you live longer, study says

Man Comes Out Of 61-Day Medically Induced Coma

Researchers found an association between “continuity of care” and death

Do you see the same general practitioner every time you visit the doctor? Doing so could lower your death rate, according to a new report.

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Researchers from St. Leonard's Practice and University of Exeter Medical School in Europe recently conducted a study, published in the BMJ Open, to determine the benefits of keeping the same doctor over time.

To do so, they examined 22 studies from nine countries, including England, France, US, Canada and South Korea. The assessments explored the association between “continuity of care” and death.

After analyzing the results, they found that more than 80 percent of the subjects had reduced mortality risks, compared to those who switched doctors.

In fact, they discovered that those who stuck with the same healthcare professional over time were more likely to listen to the advice that they were given. They were also more likely to be satisfied and take preventative measures to protect their health, such as getting immunizations.

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"As medical technology and new treatments dominate the medical news, the human aspect of medical practice has been neglected," coauthor Philip Evans said in a statement. "Our study shows it is potentially life-saving and should be prioritised."

The results were the same across countries and even for various types of specialists, such as surgeons and psychiatrists.

The scientists now hope their studies will be used by health experts across the globe and that organizations are encouraged to help people find the doctor of their choice.

“Until now arranging for patients to see the doctor of their choice has been considered a matter of convenience or courtesy,” coauthor Denis Pereira Gray added. “Now, it is clear it is about the quality of medical practice and is literally ‘a matter of life and death.’”

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