Family Physician Services and Blood Pressure Control in China

A Population-Based Retrospective Cohort Study


Given the importance of continuous family physician (FP) care in the management of hypertension, we explored the effects of such care among hypertensive patients in China, a country where such care is generally underutilized. We examined the longitudinal association between the use and continuity of FP services and health outcomes including blood pressure (BP) control rate, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure (DBP).


We conducted a population-based cohort study using data from the retrospective regional electronic health record database in Xiamen City, China. The study considered 18,119 hypertensive patients aged over 18 years who had at least two visits to a health center in the preceding 12 months. The generalized estimating equation model was adopted to estimate the longitudinal association between FP service utilization and health outcomes.


Hypertensive patients treated by their own FPs had a higher BP control rate (OR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.02–1.28) and lower DBP (−0.36 mmHg, 95% CI: −0.52 to −0.20) than those without a FP or those with a FP but treated by a general community physician (GCP). Compared with hypertensive patients treated exclusively by GCPs, patients treated continuously and exclusively by a FP were 45% more likely to have their BP under control (OR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.32–1.60), and their SBP and DBP were lower by 0.6 mmHg (95% CI: −0.78 to −0.39) and 0.6 mmHg (95% CI: −0.79 to −0.47), respectively.


Hypertensive patients continuously treated by their own FPs performed better in terms of BP control rate, SBP and DBP values. In addition, the number and continuity of FP visits were associated with better BP control.