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Fam Pract. 2006 Jun;23(3):308-16. Epub 2006 Feb 3.

Family medicine attributes related to satisfaction, health and costs.

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  • 1Institut Català de la Salut (ICS), Spain.



To identify, from a systematic review of the literature, the attributes of Family Medicine (FM) that influence the primary health care outcome as measured by users' satisfaction, improvement in patient health and in costs.


Literature search of Medline and the Cochrane library using MeSH terms 'Primary Health' or 'Family Practice' or 'Family Physicians' and 'Outcome Assessment' or 'Process Assessment'. Papers were excluded if they lacked a based on primary data, if no single component of FM was assessed; if indicators of evaluation were not related to health, satisfaction or costs.


A total of 356 articles were initially identified and 19 finally met the inclusion criteria. Study methods were a systematic review of randomized control trials, a double-blind randomized trial, 4 systematic reviews of observational studies, 2 cohort studies and 12 descriptive cross-sectional studies.


There was evidence of relationships between the attributes of FM and the service outcomes measured by indicators of satisfaction, health and cost. User satisfaction was associated with accessibility, continuity of care, consultation time and the doctor-patient relationship. Improvement in patient's health was related to continuity, consultation time, doctor-patient relationship and the implementation of preventive activities. Coordination of care showed mixed results with health outcomes. Continuity, consultation time, doctor-patient communication and prevention were cost-effective in the primary care setting.

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