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Med Care. 1998 Aug;36(8 Suppl):AS21-30.

The association of attributes of primary care with the delivery of clinical preventive services.

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Department of Family Medicine, Cancer Research Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.



Evidence is building that primary care is associated with quality of care and cost effectiveness. Still, little is known of the contribution of specific attributes of primary care to important health outcomes, such as the delivery of preventive services. This study tests the association of specific attributes of primary care with a comprehensive measure of the delivery of preventive services.


A cross-sectional multimethod study design was used to examine 2,889 patient visits to 138 community-based primary care physicians. Four primary care attributes were measured: patient preference for their regular physician, interpersonal communication, physician's accumulated knowledge of the patient, and coordination of care. Delivery of US Preventive Service Task Force-recommended services were based on data collected from direct observation and medical record review. Hierarchical linear regression models (HLM) were used to test the association of each of the primary care attributes with being up to date on screening, immunization, and health habit counseling preventive services. Each regression model was adjusted for patient age, race, health status, and insurance type.


Interpersonal communication and coordination of care scale scores were associated with being more up to date on screening services and health habit counseling. Accumulated knowledge and preference for regular physician were associated with being more up to date on immunizations.


The attributes of primary care measured in this study are associated with the receipt of preventive services. Fostering the tenets of primary care may have an impact on the delivery of preventive services and possibly other important health outcomes.

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