Journal of Community Health

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 22–41 | Cite as

Evaluation and application of continuity measures in primary care settings

  • Charles W. Given
  • Michael Branson
  • Rita Zemach
Research Reports

Abstract

Continuity of contact between patients and physicians has become an important criterion of quality primary care. Using three measures of continuity that have appeared in the literature, this article examines, through the use of simulated data and through application to data from five primary care settings, the differences and utility of these approaches for measuring continuity. Further, these measures are applied to four selected diagnoses from each of the five sites, and the observed continuity scores afforded patients with these diagnoses are compared with those expected based on the population. Finally, the scores are correlated with the number of return visits prescribed and kept and with the rate at which laboratory studies are ordered. The findings indicate that site-specific differences in continuity prevail even after adjustments in the number of visits. Continuity based on selected diagnoses is greater, for the most part, than continuity afforded the patient population. Finally, continuity is related to the number of return visits prescribed but not to the number kept or the rate at which laboratory studies are ordered. The implications of continuity for other aspects of quality patient care are discussed.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Breslau N, Haug M: Service delivery structure and continuity of care. A care study of pediatric practice in process of reorganization.J Health Soc Behavor 17339, 1976.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bice TW, Boxerman SB: A quantitive measure of continuity of care.Med Care 15347–349, 1977.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Steinwachs DM: Measuring provider continuity in ambulatory care: an assessment of alternative approaches.Med Care 17551–565, 1979.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Mausner J, Bohn AK:Epidemiology: An Introductory Text. W.B. Saunders Company, 1974, pp. 136–138.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nanboodiri NK, Carter LF, Blalock HM:Applied Multivariate Analysis and Experimental Designs. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1975, pp. 234–238.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Heagarty MC, Robertson LS, Kosa J, Alpert J: Save comparative costs—comprehensive versus fragmented pediatric care.Pediatrics 46596–603, 1970.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Becker MH, Drachman RH, Kirscht IP: New approach to explaining sick role behavior to low income populations.Am J Public Health 64205–216, 1974.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rogers J, Curtis P: The concept and measurement of continuity in primary care.Am J Public Health 70122–127, 1980.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles W. Given
  • Michael Branson
  • Rita Zemach

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations