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The New Zealand Medical Journal

 Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 11-February-2011, Vol 124 No 1329

[full text] [PDF]

Continuity of care with general practitioners in New Zealand: results from SoFIE-Primary Care
Santosh Jatrana, Peter Crampton, Ken Richardson

Abstract


Continuity of care has been defined as seeing the same health care provider over time, and has been shown to be associated with positive health outcomes, high quality care, high patient satisfaction with care and with lowering health care costs. While the benefits of continuity of care with a primary care provider are well documented, relatively little is known about those patients who receive or do not receive continuity of care. Using data from SoFIE-health, which is an add-on to the Statistics New Zealand-led Survey of Family, Income and Employment, this paper aims to construct a summary measure of continuity of care and to contribute to an enhanced understanding of the prevalence of continuity of care in New Zealand. We used the Primary Care Assessment Tools (PCAT) to create a mean score of continuity of care.

We found continuity of care is high in New Zealand. Overall, our data provide some support for the hypothesis that people with high health needs have higher mean continuity of care scores (e.g. the elderly, Pacific and Asian ethnic groups, those in the low income tertile, and those with one or more chronic conditions). The authors propose that continued incentives to develop and sustain affiliation with a primary care provider and continuity of care are important for maintaining the quality and cost-effectiveness of primary health care.

     
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