EVIDENCE ON BENEFITS OF CONTINUITY
Our 2016 review on continuity of care can be read here.
You can also watch Sir Denis Pereira Gray talk about the benefits of continuity in Webinar 1 on the Royal College of General Practitioners' website.
Continuity has been shown to have benefits for both patients and doctors. We summarise eight core benefits for patients which are well demonstrated in the research literature.
When they receive continuity of doctor care, patients:
These key features have many different research studies underpinning them and we have simply selected two or three for each for the sake of simplicity and to keep the number of references low. We are happy to supply additional references to those who are interested.
BENEFITS FOR DOCTORS
There are also advantages for GPs of continuity of care:
GP satisfaction- personal knowledge of the patient and the doctor–patient relationship and personal continuity enable GPs to provide ‘higher-quality care’ (Ridd et al 2006)
Efficiency in practice administration- general practices run more efficiently, when staff are clear about who is the responsible GP. With personal lists queries and test results can be transmitted quickly to the patient’s responsible doctor (Pereira Gray 1979)
Internal professional audits- personal list practices can conduct internal practice audits on the performance of doctors. These internal inter-doctor audits are highly educational, sustain quality improvement, with privacy for the clinicians if weaknesses are exposed. (Pereira Gray 1995)
Forgiveness- Patients forgive some practice errors within strong patient–doctor relationships (Lings et al 2003)