Does continuity of care with a family physician reduce hospitalizations among older adults?

J Health Serv Res Policy. 2006 Oct;11(4):196-201. doi: 10.1258/135581906778476562.


Objective: To examine the relation between continuity of primary care and hospitalizations.

Methods: Survey data from a representative sample of older adults aged 67 or over living in the province of Manitoba (n = 1863) were linked to administrative data, which provide complete records of physician visits and hospitalizations. A visit-based measure of continuity of care was derived using a majority-of-care definition, whereby individuals who made 75% of all their visits to family physicians (FPs) to the same FP were classified as having high continuity of care, and those with less than 75% of their visits to the same FP as having low continuity of care. Whether individuals were hospitalized (for either ambulatory care-sensitive conditions or all conditions) was also determined from administrative records.

Results: High continuity of care was associated with reduced odds of ambulatory care-sensitive hospitalizations (adjusted odds ratio = 0.67, confidence interval 0.51-0.90) controlling for demographic and self-reported, health-related measures. It was not related to hospitalizations for all conditions, however.

Conclusions: The study highlights the importance of continuity of primary care in reducing potentially avoidable hospitalizations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manitoba
  • Physicians, Family*