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Background: Primary health care services are the cornerstone of many health care systems in Europe. The systematic analysis of annual consultation rates in the primary care centres is important for the evaluation of the performance and the adequacy of care provided.Sample and methods: To assess the current and future visitation rates in a large health centre in North West Greece we conducted a retrospective research, by analyzing the outpatient office visits to the health centre during 2005-2006. Based on these data we developed a projection model in order to predict the future use of these services and the use of laboratory tests.Results: T-test revealed to a statistical significant difference (p=0.020) between the year and the mean number of visits. More precisely the year 2006 the mean number of visits in the Health Centre was bigger (595,552±171,921) than that of the year 2005 (411,483±118,785). The analysis did not show a similar statistical difference between the year and the mean number of diagnostic tests performed the same period of time. There was an increase in the total number of primary care visits during 2006 (17.5%) compared with the year 2005 and is projected to increase 60% (range from 0% to 60%) during 2007. General internal medicine services were mainly provided to the users.Conclusions: Better management of persistent primary care use may better address the patients' underlying problems, reduce unnecessary demand, and relieve some of the pressure on the capacity of primary care providers to deliver care to all patients. This study demonstrates the importance of augmenting primary health care centers with qualified nursing and medical staff and supplies in residential areas during the summer to cope with the situation and of providing proper and adequate primary care services.
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Author(s): Noula Maria