Publication Abstract

Authors: Donaldson MS

Title: Continuity of care: a reconceptualization.

Journal: Med Care Res Rev 58(3):255-90

Date: 2001 Sep

Abstract: Although continuity of care is considered an essential feature of good health care, researchers have used and measured continuity in many different ways, and no clear conceptual framework links continuity to outcomes. This article of offers a reconceptualization and definition of continuity based on agency theory. It posits that the value of continuity is to reduce agency loss by decreasing information asymmetry and increasing goal alignment. Three decades of empirical literature on continuity were examined to assess whether this model would provide greater clarity about continuity. Some authors measured improved information transfer, but more appeared to assume that continuity would lead to better information. Most authors appeared to have assumed that goal alignment was present and did not measure it. The model of continuity based on agency theory appears to provide a useful conceptual tool for health services research and policy.