Hospitalization for ambulatory care sensitive conditions and the role of primary care in italian regions

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Abstract Background: Hospitalization may often be prevented by timely and effective outpatient care either by preventing the onset of an illness, controlling an acute illness or managing a chronic disease with an appropriate follow-up. The objective of the study is to examine the variability among the Italian regions of hospital admissions for ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs), and their relationship with primary care supply. Methods: Hospital discharge data aggregated at regional level occurred in 2005 were analysed by type of ACS conditions. Main outcome measures were regional hospital admission rates for ACS conditions; negative binomial models were used to analyse the association with individual risk factors (age and gender) and regional risk factors (propensity to hospitalisation and prevalence of specific conditions). Non-parametric correlation indexes between standardised hospital admission rates and quantitative measures of primary care services were calculated. Results: ACSC admissions are 6.6% of total admissions, 35.7 can be classified as acute conditions and 64.3 as chronic conditions. Admission rates for ACSCs vary widely across Italian regions with different patterns for chronic and acute conditions. Southern regions showed significantly higher rates for chronic conditions and North-eastern regions for acute conditions. We found a significant negative association between the provision of ambulatory specialist services and standardised hospitalization rates (SHR) for ACSC for chronic conditions (r=-0.50; p=0.02) and an inverse correlation among SHR for ACSC acute conditions and the rate of GPs per 1,000 residents, although the latter is not statistically significant. Conclusions: In Italy, about 480,000 inpatient hospital admissions in 2005 were attributable to ACSCs. Even adjusting for potential confounders, differences in the hospital admissions for ACSCs among Italian regions were found. Such differences can be appropriately used to assess the effectiveness and/or appropriateness of the primary care supplied within the different regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-403
Number of pages5
JournalItalian Journal of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • hopsitalization


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