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Primary care of mothers and infants by the same or different physicians: a population-based cohort study


Background — Different primary care delivery models exist for mothers and their infants. We examined whether primary care system performance measures differed when mother–infant dyads received primary care from the same or different providers.

Methods — We conducted a population-based cohort study using Ontario health administrative data from 2004 to 2016. We included primiparous women and their singleton term infants and classified the primary care practitioners who provided the majority of care to the infant and the mother as concordant (same family physician for both; reference group), discordant (a different family physician for each) or pediatrician (pediatrician for the child, family physician for the mother). The primary outcome was nonobstetric maternal hospital admissions between 42 days and 2 years after delivery.

Results — Among 481 721 mother–child pairs, 239 033 (49.6%) received concordant care, 114 006 (23.7%) received discordant care, and 128 682 (26.7%) received pediatrician care. Mothers in the pediatrician group were older and had greater comorbidity. Relative to concordant care, maternal nonobstetric hospital admissions occurred similarly under discordant care (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.00, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.96–1.04) and in the pediatrician group (adjusted OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.95–1.02). Maternal deaths were similar under discordant care (adjusted OR 1.00, 95% CI 0.62–1.63) but lower in the pediatrician group (adjusted OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.34–0.89). Maternal primary care visits were lower in both the discordant group (adjusted relative risk [RR] 0.68, 95% CI 0.68–0.69) and the pediatrician group (adjusted RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.75–0.76). Healthy children were more likely to miss the enhanced 18-month well-baby visit under discordant care (adjusted OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.03–1.09) but less likely to miss this visit under pediatrician care (adjusted OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.46–0.49).

Interpretation — Concordant care provided to a new mother and her infant by the same family physician was not associated with better primary care health system performance. The reason that pediatric primary care is associated with better maternal and child outcomes remains to be determined.



Saunders NR, Ray JG, Diong C, Guan J, Cohen E. CMAJ. 2020; 192(36):E1026-36. Epub 2020 Sep 8.

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