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Objectives: Interpersonal continuity of care (consulting the same physician) is widely regarded as a core value of primary care and a crucial component of quality of care. Nonetheless, interpersonal continuity as experienced by patients remains a neglected topic in Arab countries including Oman. The aim of this study was to explore how patients view interpersonal continuity of care in the primary care setting in Oman. Methods: Four primary health centres (PHCs) were selected from two urban cities in Oman. In the period June to August 2008, adult patients were surveyed by questionnaire at their PHC while waiting to see their primary care physicians (PCPs). Results: We interviewed 319 (71%) of enrolled participants. Their ages ranged from 18-70 years. The majority of patients (223 - 70%) thought interpersonal continuity was very important for them; 232 (73%) patients felt that they obtained better care with interpersonal continuity. 225 (71%) patients preferred interpersonal continuity if they had personal, family or social problems. Nonetheless, compared to male patients, female patients had less chance to maintain interpersonal continuity (p = 0.018). Interpersonal continuity increased as the number of consultations increased (p = 0.030). Preference for interpersonal continuity was associated with increasing age (p = 0.020) and with the presence of chronic illnesses (p = 0.001). Patients with chronic illnesses, who reported more preference for interpersonal continuity, were also found to be more compliant with medications and committed to carrying out recommended advice compared to patients without such illnesses (p = 0.027). Conclusion: Omani patients perceived interpersonal continuity as an important aspect of primary care. Health planners should note patients’ preference for interpersonal continuity and take visible measures to support it. A larger study is needed to survey more of the PHCs of Oman.


Interpersonal continuity Primary care Oman.

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Al-Azri M, M., & Ganguly, S. S. (2009). Patients’ Views of Interpersonal Continuity of Care in Four Primary Health Care Centres of Urban Oman. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, 9(3), 287–295. Retrieved from