Continuity of Care : Literature review and implications

Mohammed Alazri, Philip Heywood, Richard D Neal, Brenda Leese

Abstract


Continuity of care is widely regarded as a core value of primary care. The objective of this article is to explore the literature about the concept of continuity of care focusing on factors that influence continuity; advantages and disadvantages of continuity and the effect of continuity on outcomes, hence on the quality of care. Electronic databases and other websites were searched for relevant literature. The results of this review showed that continuity of care is influenced by demographic factors, factors related to patients and healthcare professionals, patient-healthcare professional relationship, inter-professional factors, role of receptionists and organisational factors. Several advantages were found to be associated with most types of continuity in various medical disciplines preventive medicine, general health, maternity and child health, mental and psychosocial health, chronic diseases and costs of care. Various factors influenced different types of continuity. Most types of continuity were associated with good outcomes, hence indirectly affecting the quality of care. Health care professionals and policy makers should be aware of the effect of continuity on quality of care and of the factors that influence continuity if they wish to preserve it as a core value of primary care. 



Keywords


Continuity of care; General Practitioner; Literature review

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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