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Patients' views on interpersonal continuity in primary care: a sense of security based on four core foundations.

Journal article
Authors Inger von Bültzingslöwen
Gösta Eliasson
Anneli Sarvimäki
Bengt Mattsson
Per Hjortdahl
Published in Family practice
Volume 23
Issue 2
Pages 210-9
ISSN 0263-2136
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 210-9
Language en
Keywords Continuity of care, family medicine, general practice, primary care, qualitative study
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


BACKGROUND: A deep and comprehensive understanding of what patients value about having a personal doctor in primary care is lacking. OBJECTIVES: To acquire a comprehensive understanding of the core values of having a personal doctor in a continuing doctor-patient relationship in primary care among long-term, chronically ill patients. METHOD: In this qualitative study, 14 chronically ill patients at three primary health care centres were strategically selected. The centres were selected to include patients with experiences from both long-term and short-term doctors. The patients were asked about their views on having a personal doctor in a continuing doctor-patient relationship in primary care compared with having different short-term doctors. Sixteen health care professionals were interviewed about what chronically ill patients convey to them about having a personal doctor in contrast to seeing different short-term locum doctors. The in-depth interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed by qualitative content analysis. RESULTS: The core category, i.e. a universal concept that many patients used to describe the impact of having access to a personal doctor, was a sense of security. This was based on four main categories or core foundations which were: feelings of coherence, confidence in care, a trusting relationship and accessibility. In turn, the four main categories emerged from two to four of subcategories. CONCLUSION: The foundations that underpin the value of personal care from the patients' perspective could be based on categories found in this study.

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