A comparison of morbidity patterns in public and private primary care clinics in Malaysia
Objectives: To compare the morbidity patterns in public and private primary care clinics; determine patients’ reasons for encounter (RFE) and diagnoses using the ICPC-2, and compare ten commonest diagnoses and RFEs.
Methods: A cross-sectional study on randomly selected clinics was conducted nationwide. Doctors completed the Patient Encounter Record (PER) for systematically selected encounters for a week.
Results: Response rate was 82.0% (public clinic) and 33% (private clinic) with 4262 encounters and 7280 RFE. Overall, the three commonest disease categories encountered were respiratory (37.2%), general and unspecified (29.5%), and cardiovascular diseases (22.2%). Public and private clinics handled 27% versus 50% acute cases and 20.0% versus 3.1% chronic cases i.e. 33.7 and 5.6 chronic diseases per 100 RFE respectively.
Conclusion: Doctors in public clinics saw more chronic and complex diseases as well as pregnancy related complaints and follow-up cases while in private clinics more acute and minor illnesses were seen. Health services should be integrated and support given to co-manage chronic diseases in both sectors.
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