Continuity of care after July: what happens to the resident's patients?

J Gen Intern Med. 1986 Mar-Apr;1(2):94-7. doi: 10.1007/BF02599809.


When internal medicine residents leave teaching programs, continuity of care for outpatients is affected. The authors had departing residents send their patients computer-generated letters identifying another physician to provide continuing care. The letters were randomly withheld from 20% of the patients (NL), and they were compared with patients who received letters (RL). A telephone survey was administered and visits and no-show rates were determined. The RL patients more often knew of the change in provider (84% vs 54%, p less than 0.01) and identified the resident as the source of the information (77% vs 43%, p less than 0.01) than NL patients. There were no significant differences between RL and NL patients in mean numbers of appointments (1.0 vs 0.8) or no-show rates (24% vs 21%) following housestaff turnover. Both groups wanted to be told by the physician about future changes and were willing to be informed by letter. A computer-generated letter appears to be an effective way of notifying patients about transfer of care during the annual housestaff turnover in teaching programs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Primary Health Care*