Defragmenting the Day: The Effect of Full-Day Continuity Clinics on Continuity of Care and Perceptions of Clinic

Michelle E. Kiger*, Erica Bautista, Thomas M. Bertagnoli, Caitlin E. Hammond, Holly S. Meyer, Lara Varpio, Ting Dong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem: Traditional half-day continuity clinics within primary care residency programs require residents to split time between their assigned clinical rotation and continuity clinic, which can have detrimental effects on resident experiences and patient care within continuity clinics. Most previous efforts to separate inpatient and outpatient obligations have employed block scheduling models, which entail significant rearrangements to clinical rotations, team structures, and didactic education and have yielded mixed effects on continuity of care. A full-day continuity clinic schedule within a traditional, non-block rotation framework holds potential to de-conflict resident schedules without the logistical rearrangements required to adopt block scheduling models, but no literature has described the effect of such full-day continuity clinics on continuity of care or resident experiences within continuity clinic. Intervention: A pediatric residency program implemented full-day continuity clinics within a traditional rotation framework. We examined the change in continuity for physician (PHY) measure in the six months prior to versus the six months following the switch, as well as changes in how often residents saw clinic patients in follow-up and personally followed up clinic laboratory and radiology results, which we term episodic follow-up. Resident and attending perceptions of full-day continuity clinics were measured using a survey administered 5-7 months after the switch. Context: The switch to full-day continuity clinics occurred in January 2018 within the Wright State University/Wright-Patterson Medical Center Pediatric Residency Program. The program has 46 residents who are assigned to one of two continuity clinic sites, each of which implemented the full-day continuity clinics simultaneously. Outcome: The PHY for residents at one clinic decreased slightly from 18.0% to 13.6% (p<.001) with full-day continuity clinics but was unchanged at another clinic [60.6% vs 59.5%, p=.86]. Measures of episodic follow-up were unchanged. Residents (32/46 = 77% responding) and attendings (6/8 = 75% responding) indicated full-day continuity clinics improved residents’ balance of inpatient and outpatient obligations, preparation for clinic, continuity relationships with patients, and clinic satisfaction. Lessons Learned: Full-day continuity clinics within a traditional rotation framework had mixed effects on continuity of care but improved residents’ experiences within clinic. This model offers a viable alternative to block scheduling models for primary care residency programs wishing to defragment resident schedules. Supplemental data for this article is available online at

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-553
Number of pages8
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuity of care
  • patient ownership
  • resident continuity clinics
  • resident work balance


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