Background: Norwegian general practice is a conglomerate of organisational forms. Studies of quality differences between types of practice have not been published. There is scant knowledge of how physician characteristics may influence patients' experience of the quality of care.
Materials and methods: In this study of patient experiences with quality in primary care, we received answers to a questionnaire from more than 1,600 patients who had made office visits to 61 GPs working in 44 different practices. The patients expressed their opinion of the quality of medical-technical performance, doctor-patient relationship, information and support, accessibility and the organisation of general practice. Using multilevel analysis we compared solo-practices with group practices, and conventional types of practices with list-patient practices.
Results: No significant differences in patient experienced quality were found for different practices with traditional organisation. List-patient practices scored lower on quality than conventional practices, especially on accessibility and organisation. There were no significant differences in patient evaluation related to the doctor's gender. GPs with more than ten years in a practice were rated lower on quality than GPs with ten or fewer years of experience.
Interpretation: The way general practice is organised and the number of years the GP has worked in the same practice appear to influence how patients experience the quality of primary health care.