Epidemiology and Biostatistics Publications

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Early Intervention in Psychiatry



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AIM: Access to a primary care physician in early psychosis facilitates help-seeking and engagement with psychiatric treatment. We examined access to a regular primary care physician in people with early psychosis, compared to the general population, and explored factors associated with access.

METHODS: Using linked health administrative data from Ontario (Canada), we identified people aged 14-35 years with a first diagnosis of nonaffective psychotic disorder (n = 39 449; 2005-2015). We matched cases to four randomly selected general population controls based on age, sex, neighbourhood, and index date (n = 157 796). We used modified Poisson regression to estimate prevalence ratios (PR) for access to a regular primary care physician in the year prior to first diagnosis of psychotic disorder, and the sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with access.

RESULTS: A larger proportion of people with early psychosis had a regular primary care physician, relative to the general population (89% vs. 68%; PR = 1.30, 95%CI = 1.30-1.31). However, this was accounted for by a higher prevalence of comorbidities among people with psychosis, and this association was no longer present after adjustment (PR = 0.97, 95%CI = 0.97, 0.98). People with early psychosis who were older, male, refugees and those residing in lower income or high residential instability neighbourhoods were less likely to have a regular primary care physician.

CONCLUSION: Approximately one in ten young people with early psychosis in Ontario lack access to a regular primary care physician. Strategies to improve primary care physician access are needed for management of physical comorbidities and to ensure continuity of care.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License