Table 3.

Hierarchical Definition of Continuity of Care

Level of ContinuityDescription
1. InformationalAn organized collection of medical and social information about each patient is readily available to any health care professional caring for the patient. A systemic process also allows accessing and communicating about this information among those involved in the care
2. LongitudinalIn addition to informational continuity, each patient has a “medical home” where the patient receives most health care, which allows the care to occur in an accessible and familiar environment from an organized team of providers. This team assumes responsibility for coordinating the quality of care, including preventive services
3. InterpersonalIn addition to longitudinal continuity, an ongoing relationship exists between each patient and a personal physician. The patient knows the physician by name and has come to trust the physician on a personal basis. The patient uses this physician for basic health services and depends on the physician to assume personal responsibility for the patient’s overall health care. When the personal physician is not available, a coverage arrangement assures that longitudinal continuity occurs