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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.2-4 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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