Continuity of care can be measured using patient survey or administrative data, though the degree of concordance between continuity of care reported by patients and measured from their actual utilization is not well understood. A cross-sectional analysis of the 2010 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey and linked 2009-2010 Medicare Carrier and outpatient claims data measured the concentration of ambulatory care visit patterns according to two commonly used metrics of continuity of care. Continuity of care measured from claims data did not align with patient reports of having a usual care provider. However, high levels of continuity for patients with a usual care provider were associated with a longer patient-provider relationship, greater patient-perceived provider knowledge of the patient's medical condition and history, and more confidence in the provider. Inferences about a patient's continuity of care must be placed in the context of the data source with which continuity is measured.
Keywords: Medicare; continuity of care; measurement; survey.