A descriptive study of the primary care use of people with a diagnosis of severe mental illness: A focus on cardiovascular and cardiometabolic health and risk factor screening
A/Prof Victoria Palmer
This project uses Patron data to provide a detailed understanding of the numbers of people who have severe mental illness attending practice practice, how these people use primary care services over a 12 month period, the cardiometabolic assessments and screening they receive, and the rates of medication use.
- To describe the demographics and number of patients that have a diagnosis of the specified (serious) mental health conditions per practice
- To summarise the average number of total visits to primary care and frequency of key MBS billable items to better understand the frequency of primary care use; the frequency of screening for cardiometabolic risk and disease and outcomes of these investigations; and the number of types of referrals to specialists across the population.
People with severe mental illness have high rates of cardiometabolic and cardiovascular illness that is driven by medication side effects, poor lifestyle, socioeconomic disadvantage and diagnostic overshadowing whereby physical health issues are attributed to the primary mental health diagnosis. This contributes to a 10-20 year reduction in life expectancy compared to people without severe mental illness; and suggests that greater efforts should be made to improve the physical health outcomes of this population.
Primary care is the most appropriate setting to achieve these improvements as GPs have a central coordination role in the health of patients crossing physical and mental health and different health settings.