Approximately 21 percent of Americans, according to the analysis of the Kaiser Family Foundation 2016 have no personal physician, Alaska is 32.2 percent.
However, a new systematic review suggests that if a person sees the same doctor over time, it may lead to a lower likelihood of early death.
The review, a collaboration between the University of Exeter University of Exeter Medical School and the St. Leonard's Practice in Exeter, analyzed 22 smaller studies from nine different countries. Each of these studies examined the relationship between "continuity of care" and death. The UK researchers defined "continuity of care" as "repeated contact between a single patient and a physician".
Approximately 81 percent of the studies they examined showed statistically significant reductions in mortality in people who were able to see the same doctor over a long period of time.
"We were pleasantly surprised by the results," said Phil Evans, associate professor of general medicine and primary care at the University of Exeter, and one of the authors of the study, to ABC News.
The main limitation of the study, however, was that researchers were unable to summarize all study results in a so-called "meta-analysis" that would tell them how much the risk decreased. A meta-analysis can not use to different studies where comparisons can not be fair. There were different definitions of "continuity of care" and different follow-up periods from study to study. The authors of the study believe their results would also apply to America, despite its unique private insurance-based health care system.
"We estimate that the American family exercise model is different than the UK, but we have included some important US studies in our analysis," Evans told ABC News.
It is not clear what factors behind this trend are lower mortality rates. It may be that the close contact between patient and doctor for a longer period of time means that the patient is more likely to retain evidence-based preventative medicine such as vaccines and more likely to follow the treatment recommendations of a doctor he has received over the years.
"We can hypothesize why there is an association," Evans told ABC News. "There is evidence that patients, when more satisfied with their doctor, are more likely to give their advice on screening, such as Pap smears for women or treatments that recommend taking statins when they are recommended."
Dr. Ronald Epstein, a professor of family medicine, psychiatry, oncology and medicine at the University of Rochester for Medicine and Dentistry who was not involved in the study, told ABC News the benefits of keeping the same medical team for physicians and patients.
"These results make sense of what we know about the benefits of continuity of care, and for the doctor, they get to know their patient as a person, not just the condition they are in. Doctors who, over time, do the same Seeing patients has a better sense of the patient's values and preferences, as well as the complexity of the treatment plan and the social situation, "Epstein told ABC News. "There is also a sense of loyalty and a connection to the health outcomes of the patient, and the patient may be more willing to follow the recommendations of the family doctor, for example because of his trust in. All in all, it is one for the patient and the doctor very positive thing to see the same supplier. "
Amitha Kalaichandran is a pediatrician working at the ABC News Medical Unit in New York.