US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
By Vidya Sudhakar‐Krishnan, Mary CJ Rudolf
As doctors working in a busy clinic alongside colleagues, we often encounter a number of patients whom we have never met before. Within the allocated time, we have to become rapidly acquainted with the patient's previous history, develop a rapport and move on to address the patient's present problems. The patient also has to quickly come to trust an unfamiliar face on the basis of their professional standing. One cannot but feel that if patients saw the same doctor at each clinic appointment, a better standard of care would result, along with a more satisfactory and effective consultation for both patient and doctor.
This sounds like common sense, and in these circumstances it is always interesting to know if there is an evidence base for the self evident. Is continuity of care important to professionals and to patients and, most important, is it clinically important? If it is, we should be making sure that our services take this into account.
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