Minding the gap: Factors associated with primary care coordination of adults in 11 countries

Jonathan Penm, Neil J. Mackinnon, Stephen M. Strakowski, Jun Ying, Michelle M. Doty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Care coordination has been identified as a key strategy in improving the effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of the US health care system. Our objective was to determine whether population or health care system issues are associated with primary care coordination gaps in the United States and other high-income countries. METHODS We analyzed data from the 2013 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy (IHP) survey with multivariate logistic regression analysis. Respondents were adult primary care patients from 11 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. Poor primary care coordination was defined as participants reporting at least 3 gaps in the coordination of care out of a maximum of 5. RESULTS Analyses were based on 13,958 respondents. The rate of poor primary care coordination was 5.2% (724/13,958 respondents) overall and highest in the United States, at 9.8% (137/1,395 respondents). Multivariate regression analysis among all respondents found that they were less likely to experience poor primary care coordination if their primary care physician often or always knew their medical history, spent sufficient time, involved them, and explained things well (odds ratio = 0.6 for each). Poor primary care coordination was more likely to occur among patients with chronic conditions (odds ratios = 1.4-2.1 depending on number) and patients younger than 65 years (odds ratios = 1.6-2.3 depending on age-group). Among US respondents, insurance status, health status, household income, and sex were not associated with poor primary care coordination. CONCLUSIONS The United States had the highest rate of poor primary care coordination among the 11 high-income countries evaluated. An established relationship with a primary care physician was significantly associated with better care coordination, whereas being chronically ill or younger was associated with poorer care coordination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-119
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuity of patient care
  • Coordination of care
  • International
  • Patient experience
  • Primary health care
  • Surveys and questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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