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Original Article
May 1999

Improved Continuity of Care in a Community Teaching Hospital Model

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery and Medical Education, Providence Hospital and Medical Centers, Southfield, Mich.

Arch Surg. 1999;134(5):555-558. doi:10.1001/archsurg.134.5.555

Hypothesis  We created an ambulatory resident clinic in a community teaching hospital to improve the continuity of care in a surgery residency program.

Design  A retrospective chart review analysis.

Setting  A community hospital, general surgery residency training program, and its ambulatory practice.

Interventions  Providence Hospital, Southfield, Mich, has established a new model, the Surgical Associates of Michigan, which is an association comprising private practice physicians serving as full-time faculty in the Department of Surgery. In addition to clarification of teaching requirements and reimbursement for educational activities, the most dramatic feature is the relocation of private practice offices and the staff surgical office to one central location within the hospital. The proximity of the staff and private surgical offices facilitates closer interaction of attending physicians, residents, and patients.

Main Outcome Measures  Compliance rates of continuity of patient care provided by the same resident, as presented by the Surgery Residency Review Committee, including confirmation of diagnosis, provision of preoperative care, discussion with attending physician, selection and provision of intervention, direction of postoperative care, and postdischarge follow-up.

Results  Since the inception of this arrangement at our institution, surgical residents have seen 229 staff patients and 465 private patients in the offices under supervision. Compliance rate of continuity of care was defined as patient follow-up with the same senior surgical resident who performed an operation or evaluated the patient on initial presentation to the emergency department or offices. We achieved a compliance rate of 92.8% (169/182) in the staff surgical clinics. A compliance rate of 63.5% (205/323) for private general surgical patients and 70.4% (100/142) for vascular surgical patients was obtained. With the establishment of the teaching faculty group and the relocation of offices, we were able to achieve a dramatic improvement in continuity of care.

Conclusions  In addition to fulfilling the Surgery Residency Review Committee requirements, we believe our model facilitates broader education of surgical residents and improves risk management. We recommend further similar studies, greater involvement of primary care specialties in recruiting staff surgical referrals, and implementation of a specialized computer program to continue to improve continuity of care in surgery residency programs.