Objective. To assess resident, patient, and family continuity. Background. Continuity clinic is the principal longitudinal primary care experience for pediatric residents. Although it has been a recommendation of the Residency Review Committee for pediatric training for more than 10 years and has been a requirement of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education since 1989, the extent to which continuity is achieved in this setting has not been reported. Methods. Nine years (1984-1993) of residents' continuity clinic experience in a community hospital affiliate of a university training program were reviewed. Continuity was defined by recurring visits between the same patient/provider pair. The analysis from 57 different residents includes 48 intern (R1) years, 45 level two (R2) years, and 40 level three (R3) years; 32 of these residents completed all 3 years of training (3-year cohort) in the program during the study period. Observations included 89 952 visits by 11 009 patients in 7130 families. Continuity was determined for the resident, patient, and family. Results. Residents saw an annual average of 93, 136, and 144 visits as R1s, R2s, and R3s. Residents saw 60% of their patients fewer than 3 times and nearly 40% only once. In the final year for those in the 3-year cohort, residents saw an average of 149 visits; 53% of the time these R3s had seen their patients once or twice over 3 years. Thirty percent of the patients never saw their primary care physician (PCP) and 72% of patients had fewer than 3 visits with their PCP. One quarter of the families never saw their continuity resident, and 62% saw their continuity resident fewer than 3 times. Conclusions. These data demonstrate a remarkable lack of both resident and patient continuity in the principal clinical activity affording longitudinal primary care experiences during residency training. If more continuity is essential for both primary care of patients and education in general pediatrics, change in the structure of continuity experience is required.
- Continuity clinic
- General pediatric education
- Primary care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health