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Patient Experience with Coordination of Care: The Benefit of Continuity and Primary Care Physician as Referral Source

Jan. 6, 2009
Journal of General Internal Medicine Ann S. O'Malley, Peter J. Cunningham

This study describes the extent to which people report that their care is coordinated between their primary care physician (PCP) and specialists. Among adults who have a PCP and who had at least one visit to another specialist in the past year, less than half reported that their PCP always seemed informed about specialist care received. Interpersonal continuity with the same PCP was associated with better coordination of specialist care. In addition, when a visit to the specialist was based on PCP referral (rather than some other source), significantly more patients reported that their PCP was up-to-date about specialist care received and that their PCP discussed with them what happened at their recent specialist visit. Facilitating continuity between the patient and PCP and encouraging the use of the PCP as the referral source would likely enhance care coordination. This study was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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