Comprehensive Care through Family Medicine: Improving the Sustainability of Aging Societies

Geriatrics (Basel). 2021 Jun 4;6(2):59. doi: 10.3390/geriatrics6020059.


Comprehensive care through family medicine can enhance the approach to multimorbidity, interprofessional collaboration, and community care, and make medical care more sustainable for older people. This study investigated the effect of implementing family medicine and the comprehensiveness of medical care in one of the most rural communities. This implementation research used medical care data from April 2015 to March 2020. Patients' diagnoses were categorized according to the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Disease and Related Health Problems (ICD-10). In 2016, family medicine was implemented in only one general hospital in Unnan. The comprehensiveness rate improved in all ICD-10 disease categories during the study period, especially in the following categories-infections; neoplasms; endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases; mental disorders; nervous system; circulatory system; respiratory system; digestive system; skin and subcutaneous tissue; musculoskeletal system and connective tissue; and the genitourinary system. Implementing family medicine in rural Japanese communities can improve the comprehensiveness of medical care and resolve the issue of fragmentation of care by improving interprofessional collaboration and community care. It can be a solution for the aging of both patient and healthcare professionals. Future research can investigate the relationship between family medicine and patient health outcomes for improved healthcare sustainability.

Keywords: Japanese; aging society; comprehensive care; family medicine; general physician; health outcome; medical care; older people; rural medicine; sustainability.