Objective: To compare patient's assessment of primary care of medical institutions by structural type.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Primary care clinics where family physicians work in South Korea (nine private clinics, three health cooperative clinics, three public health center clinics and five teaching hospital clinics). We collected data by questionnaire survey from April 2007 to June 2007.
Participants: Study subjects were patients who had visited their primary care clinic on six or more occasions over a period of more than 6 months as a usual source of care.
Main outcome measures: Scores in each domain of primary care, evaluated by the Korean Primary Care Assessment Tool.
Results: A total of 968 subjects were surveyed. The median of primary care average scores was the highest (78) in health cooperative clinics, the second in teaching hospitals clinics, the third in private clinics and the lowest (62) in public health center clinics. When compared with private clinics, the odds ratio for having a high primary care average score was 2.1 (95% confidence interval 1.3-3.3) for health cooperative clinics, and 0.55 (95% confidence interval 0.34-0.88) for public health center clinics.
Conclusion: Among medical institutions where family physicians work in South Korea, health cooperative clinics showed the highest primary care average score, and public health center clinics the lowest. To reinforce primary care in South Korea, where medical service delivery systems are only loosely established, health cooperative clinics could serve as an alternative.