Patients' views on interpersonal continuity in primary care: a sense of security based on four core foundations

Fam Pract. 2006 Apr;23(2):210-9. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmi103. Epub 2005 Dec 16.


Background: A deep and comprehensive understanding of what patients value about having a personal doctor in primary care is lacking.

Objectives: To acquire a comprehensive understanding of the core values of having a personal doctor in a continuing doctor-patient relationship in primary care among long-term, chronically ill patients.

Method: In this qualitative study, 14 chronically ill patients at three primary health care centres were strategically selected. The centres were selected to include patients with experiences from both long-term and short-term doctors. The patients were asked about their views on having a personal doctor in a continuing doctor-patient relationship in primary care compared with having different short-term doctors. Sixteen health care professionals were interviewed about what chronically ill patients convey to them about having a personal doctor in contrast to seeing different short-term locum doctors. The in-depth interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed by qualitative content analysis.

Results: The core category, i.e. a universal concept that many patients used to describe the impact of having access to a personal doctor, was a sense of security. This was based on four main categories or core foundations which were: feelings of coherence, confidence in care, a trusting relationship and accessibility. In turn, the four main categories emerged from two to four of subcategories.

Conclusion: The foundations that underpin the value of personal care from the patients' perspective could be based on categories found in this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • State Medicine
  • Sweden