Continuity of care and quality care outcomes for people experiencing chronic conditions: A literature review


Gwen van Servellen, Acute Care Section, School of Nursing, 3-246 Factor Building, UCLA, 700 Tiverton Avenue, Box 956917, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6917, USA. Email:


Abstract  Continuity of patient care is frequently linked to quality care outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to examine the clinical trial literature in order to determine the extent to which informational, management, and relational continuity of care are associated with quality care indicators. A MEDLINE search of the literature via PubMed was conducted for clinical trials that were carried out from 1 January 1996–1 June 2005. Analyses of 32 unduplicated citations revealed a focus on one or more aspects of continuity and its association with quality care outcomes. Management continuity interventions were identified most often, followed by informational and relational continuity interventions. The outcomes were primarily patient-focused with a wide range of functional status, quality of life, and patient satisfaction indicators. This analysis provides implications for research that could contribute to an understanding of the types of continuity of patient care and their relationships to quality care.