The importance of and the complexities associated with measuring continuity of care during resident training: Possible solutions do exist

Patricia A. Carney, Colleen M. Conry, Karen B. Mitchell, Annie Ericson, W. Perry Dickinson, James C. Martin, Peter J. Carek, Alan B. Douglass, M. Patrice Eiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Evolutions in care delivery toward the patient-centered medical home have influenced important aspects of care continuity. Primary responsibility for a panel of continuity patients is a foundational requirement in family medicine residencies. In this paper we characterize challenges in measuring continuity of care in residency training in this new era of primary care. METHODS: We synthesized the literature and analyzed information from key informant interviews and group discussions with residency faculty and staff to identify the challenges and possible solutions for measuring continuity of care during family medicine training. We specifically focused on measuring interpersonal continuity at the patient level, resident level, and health care team level. RESULTS: Challenges identified in accurately measuring interpersonal continuity of care during residency training include: (1) variability in empanelment approaches for all patients, (2) scheduling complexity in different types of visits, (3) variability in ability to attain continuity counts at the level of the resident, and (4) shifting make-up of health care teams, especially in residency training. Possible solutions for each challenge are presented. Philosophical issues related to continuity are discussed, including whether true continuity can be achieved during residency training and whether qualitative rather than quantitative measures of continuity are better suited to residencies. CONCLUSIONS: Measuring continuity of care in residency training is challenging but possible, though improvements in precision and assessment of the comprehensive nature of the relationships are needed. Definitions of continuity during training and the role continuity measurement plays in residency need further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-293
Number of pages8
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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