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Med Care. 2008 Mar;46(3):323-30. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e318158aefb.

Does having a regular primary care clinician improve quality of preventive care for young children?

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Department of Health Services, UCLA School of Public Health, Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities, Los Angeles, California 90024, USA.



This study examines whether having a regular clinician for preventive care is associated with quality of care for young children, as measured by interpersonal quality ratings and content of anticipatory guidance.


The National Survey of Early Childhood Health (NSECH), a nationally representative parent survey of health care quality for 2068 young US children fielded by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).


Bivariate and multivariate analyses evaluate associations between having a regular clinician for well child care and interpersonal quality, the content of anticipatory guidance, and timely access to care.


In bivariate analysis, parents of children with a regular clinician for preventive care reported slightly higher interpersonal quality (69 vs. 65 on a 0-100 scale, P = 0.01). Content of anticipatory guidance received was slightly greater for children with a regular clinician (82 vs. 80 on a 0-100 scale, P = 0.03). In bivariate analysis, a regular clinician was associated with interpersonal quality only among African American and Hispanic children. In multivariate analyses, controlling for factors that could independently influence self-reports of experiences with care, interpersonal quality but not anticipatory guidance content was higher for children with a regular clinician.


Having a regular primary care clinician is embraced in pediatrics, although team care among physicians is also widely practiced. For young children, having a regular clinician is associated with modest gains in interpersonal quality and no differences in content of anticipatory guidance. The benefit of having a regular clinician may primarily occur in interpersonal quality for subgroups of young children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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