ROCKVILLE, Md. — HIV-positive patients who miss at least one medical office visit in the first year after their HIV diagnosis have a 71 percent increased risk of death in comparison with HIV-positive patients who did not miss office visits, according to a new study published in the journal AIDS Patient Care and STDs.
The study, led by researchers from Kaiser Permanente, examined the electronic health records of HIV-positive patients in Northern California who were at least 18 years old and newly diagnosed at Kaiser Permanente between January 1997 and December 2007.The study’s findings suggest early retention in HIV care is critical to improving outcomes.
“Care providers who work with patients who are HIV positive need to be particularly aware of not just getting patients into care, but then keeping them in care,” said Michael Horberg, MD, executive director of research, Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Institute. “This is particularly important during the first year after a new HIV diagnosis.”
More than 2,800 patients were included in the study. Patients who missed one or more medical office visits had a 71 percent increased mortality risk, with 12 percent increased mortality rate per missed visit. Factors for missing visits included younger age, being African American or Latino, and injection drug use.
“What our study found is that missed visits were a greater risk factor for mortality than nearly all other factors evaluated,” said Dr. Horberg. “Patients who miss visits early in the care process need to be identified as soon as possible and then intensive efforts should be initiated to improve their chances of surviving.”
Kaiser Permanente can conduct transformational health research like this in part because it has the largest private patient-centered electronic health record system in the world. The organization’s electronic health record system, Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, securely connects 9.1 million patients to 17,000 physicians in 611 medical offices and 37 hospitals. It also connects Kaiser Permanente’s research scientists to one of the most extensive collections of longitudinal medical data available, facilitating studies and important medical discoveries that shape the future of health care delivery for patients and the medical community.
To view the study abstract, visit http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/apc.2013.0073.
About the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research
The Kaiser Permanente Division of Research conducts, publishes and disseminates epidemiologic and health services research to improve the health and medical care of Kaiser Permanente members and the society at large. It seeks to understand the determinants of illness and well-being and to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. Currently, DOR’s600-plusstaff is working on more than 250 epidemiological and health services research projects. For more information, visit www.dor.kaiser.org.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9.1 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.