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.