Cohort profile: The prospective study on Chinese elderly with multimorbidity in primary care in Hong Kong

Dexing Zhang, Regina Wing Shan Sit, Carmen Wong, Dan Zou, Stewart W. Mercer, Marjorie C. Johnston, Samuel Yeung Shan Wong* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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PURPOSE: This is an ongoing prospective cohort aiming to examine the biopsychosocial health profiles and predictors of health outcomes of older patients with multimorbidity in primary care in Hong Kong. PARTICIPANTS: From April 2016 to October 2017, 1077 patients aged 60+ years with at least two chronic diseases were recruited in four public primary care clinics in the New Territories East Region of Hong Kong. FINDINGS TO DATE: After weighting, the patients had 4.1 (1.8) chronic conditions and 2.5 (1.9) medications on average; 37% forgot taking medication sometimes; 71% rated their health as fair or poor; 17% were frail; 73% reported one (21%) or two or more (52%) body pain areas; 62% were overweight/obese; 23% reported chewing difficulty, 18% reported incontinence; 36% had current stage 1/2 hypertension; 38% had handgrip strength below the cut-off; 10% screened positive in sarcopenia; 17% had mild or severer cognitive impairment; 17% had mild to severe depression; 16% had mild to severe anxiety; 50% had subthreshold to severe insomnia; 28% indicated being lonely; 12% needed help in at least one out of the five daily functions and the EuroQoL-5-Dimensions-5-Level index score was 0.81 (0.20) and its Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) score was 67.6 (14.6). In the past 12 months, 17% were hospitalised, 92% attended general outpatient clinics, 70% attended specialist outpatient clinics and 10% used elderly daycare centre services, the median out-of-pocket health cost was HK$1000 (US$150). Female and male patients showed significant differences in many biopsychosocial health aspects. FUTURE PLANS: With assessments and clinical data, the cohort can be used for understanding longitudinal trajectories of biopsychosocial health profiles of Chinese older patients with multimorbidity in primary care. We are also initially planning cohort studies on factors associated with various health outcomes, as well as quality of life and healthcare use. COHORT REGISTRATION NUMBER: ChiCTR-OIC-16008477.

Original languageEnglish
Article number027279
Pages (from-to)e027279
Number of pages17
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Early online date20 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank the General Outpatient Clinics (Lek Yuen, Ma On Shan, Shatin (Tai Wai), Yuen Chau Kok) and Shatin Rhenish Neighbourhood Elderly Centre for the support and help in recruitment. We also greatly thank all the patients who joined in the cohort.

Funding The staff working on this cohort received funding from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

Competing interests None declared.

Patient consent for publication Not required.

Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. The authors warmly welcome collaborations for future research based on this study. For those who would like to request for the data or propose new assessments into the follow-up assessments, they can email to: ( For more information please see the website:


  • chronic conditions
  • comorbidities
  • general practice
  • older adults
  • physical, psychological and social factors
  • primary care
  • SARC-F


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