Millions for healthcare research

Published: 2022-10-26

Lina Maria Ellegård and two colleagues have received funding of 3 509 000 SEK through Forte for the research project “Centralt men förbisett – kontinuitet i svensk primärvård“.

Is it possible to choose the doctor that you want? is one important question in the new research project at LUSEM about continuity in Swedish primary health care. Photo: iStock

Congratulations, Lina Maria! What is your research project about?

“Above all this is about continuity of doctor-patient relationships in Swedish primary health care. We are three researchers and a general practitioner involved and we are hoping for and are curious about examining continuity, not only from the patients' angle but also to look into for how long time the patients are offered continuity by the healthcare provider,“ Lina Maria says. 

Lina Maria says that long-term doctor-patient relationships are viewed as a very important aspect of primary care. However, such continuity is not very usual in Sweden and the researchers want to know more about it and why it is like this. How usual is it? And when it happens, what patients do get this kind of long-term relationship?

Many questions in the project

“We also want to address questions like 'What does it mean to be formally listed with a certain doctor?' From a policy perspective, such formal continuity is almost the only way In which health care authorities can force primary care providers to offer continuity today. But what are the Implications In practice? Does the formal relationship make It easier to establish a long-term doctor-patient relationship, when a care need arises? We think this can be of great importance for a person when seeking health care. Maybe it is easier to get this continuous contact if you are listed for a specific doctor than If you are not, we want to look into that,“ Lina Maria says. 

How long a doctor stays on at a health center, what factors contribute to doctors remaining in their workplace, is also something that the researchers want to look into. All three of the researchers in this research group have done some similar research during several years so there is no lack of expertise.

Mostly quantitative

You will start out your project in January, how will it be conducted?

“Above all this is quantitative study. Mostly we will look into and use registry data from Region Skåne. From previous research we have access to a data base that we can use for our analyses. We will be able to supplement with data from the staff retention at the health care centers.

Research articles will be the most important output but we will also communicate the results to different regions in Sweden, where it will probably be of interest.“ 

What is unique about your study?

“The research project will be conducted in several parts, the part about variation continuity for example is pretty unique in Sweden since in most other countries, almost everyone has a long-standing relationship with their primary care doctor. We are also planning to look into what happens when a doctor-patient relationship ends. There is a growing literature on that subject, but not from settings where the patient can remain at the same health care facility, and retain relationships with other staff such as nurses.“

Does this align with your research expertise?

“Yes, in this new research project I will be able to continue to dvelve into my field of interest, Swedish primary care,“ Lina Maria says.

The researchers

Anders Anell
Professor in Accounting and Corporate Finance, LUSEM

Lina Maria Ellegård
Associate Professor in Economics, LUSEM and Kristianstad University

Gustav Kjellsson
Senior Lecturer in Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg