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Invited Commentary
November 11, 2013

How Primary Care Practices Can Improve Continuity of Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(20):1885-1886. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.7341

Continuity of care is one of the fundamental building blocks of high-performing primary care1 and is associated with improved preventive and chronic care services, patient and clinician satisfaction, lower hospital utilization, lower costs, and for elderly patients, lower mortality.24 For patients, continuity means seeing their own clinician, year after year, every time they need care. Patients place high value on continuity of care, though for some patients a trade-off exists between continuity and access. Younger patients with acute illnesses may value prompt access over continuity, preferring to see any clinician today rather than their own clinician in a week, whereas older patients and those with chronic conditions tend to choose continuity over access.3

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