The relationship between continuity and patient satisfaction: a systematic review

Fam Pract. 2010 Apr;27(2):171-8. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmp099. Epub 2010 Jan 6.


Background: Continuity between doctors and patients likely affects patient satisfaction.

Objective: To assess the current evidence on the relationship between continuity and patient satisfaction.

Methods: Systematic review of studies of adults in general, family, or internal medicine practices with ongoing, direct, face-to-face contact with their physician. Measures of the relationship between continuity and patient satisfaction were examined.

Results: A MEDLINE search covering 1984-2007 and a Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature search covering 1981-2007 identified 263 relevant studies and 12 studies met inclusion criteria. There were 12 different continuity measures and 9 different satisfaction measures.

Conclusions: Continuity has a variable effect on patient satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Primary Health Care
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • United Kingdom
  • United States