BACKGROUND: Many internal medicine programs have reorganized their resident continuity clinics to improve the ambulatory care experience for residents. The effect of this redesign on patient satisfaction is largely unknown.
METHODS: Our multi-institutional, cross-sectional study included 569 internal medicine residents from 11 programs participating in the Educational Innovations Project Ambulatory Collaborative. An 11-item patient satisfaction survey from the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems was used to assess patient satisfaction, comparing patient satisfaction in traditional models of weekly continuity clinic with 2 new clinic models. We then examined the relationship between patient satisfaction and other practice variables.
RESULTS: Patient satisfaction responses related to resident listening and communication skills, knowledge of medical history, perception of adequate visit time, overall rating, and willingness to refer to family and friends were significantly better in the traditional and block continuity models than the combination model. Higher ambulatory workload was associated with reduced patient perception of respect shown by the physician. The percentage of diabetic patients with glycated hemoglobin < 8% was positively correlated with number of visits, knowledge of medical history, perception of respect, and higher scores for recommending the physician to others. The percentage of diabetic patients with low density lipoprotein < 100 mg/dL was positively correlated with the physician showing respect.
CONCLUSIONS: Patient satisfaction was similar in programs using block design and traditional models for continuity clinic, and both outperformed the combination model programs. There was a delicate balance between workload and patient perception of the physician showing respect. Care outcome measures for diabetic patients were associated with aspects of patient satisfaction.