[The loyalty of Belgian patients to their family practitioner]

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 1994 Dec 31;138(53):2649-54.
[Article in Dutch]


Objective: To determine the effect of a non-committal registration specifying the intention of patients to contact a particular general practitioner, on patient loyalty in Belgium.

Setting: Antwerp and Liège

Design: Case control study.

Method: Medical consumption was registered during one year by two health insurance companies for a group of 4000 participating patients (experimental group) and 4000 non-participants (control group) within two selected areas (Antwerp and Liège). Patient loyalty was measured by means of the normalised usual provider continuity index.

Results: No relevant differences were found between the experimental group and the control group. Even when taking into account that a general practitioner is not available 20% of the time, the proportion of loyal patients hardly reached 70%.

Conclusion: A non-committal registration had no influence on patient loyalty. There is a clear difference between intention and actual behaviour. More coercive measures are needed to reach a more loyal behaviour.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude
  • Belgium
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contract Services*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patients / psychology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data*