Original Article

Internal Medicine Residents’ Perceptions of Their Continuity Clinic Training

Authors: Matthew N. Metzinger, MD, Erika L. Hoffman, MD, Christina M. Lalama, MS, Scott D. Rothenberger, PhD, Tanya Nikiforova, MD, MS


Objectives: Internal Medicine (IM) residents have reported dissatisfaction with continuity clinic (CC) training, which may contribute to the increasing shortage of primary care physicians. Studies show balancing inpatient and outpatient duties as a driver of dissatisfaction, but few studies have compared CC with inpatient (IP) training, following transition to an X + Y model, or assessed the impact of show rates, continuity, and telemedicine use on resident perceptions. The aim of this study was to adapt a validated survey to compare residents’ perceptions of their CC with their inpatient medicine training and examine the impact of objective clinic measures on training.

Methods: This quantitative cross-sectional study included a survey that was sent to 152 residents at an academic IM program in May–June 2021. Clinic measures such as show versus no-show rates, continuity with the residents’ own patients, and visit modality were obtained through the electronic health records at Veterans Affairs and non–Veterans Affairs CCs.

Results: The survey response rate was 78% (118/152). Residents were more satisfied with inpatient general medicine rotations than their CC experience (4.5 vs 3.3 on a 5-point scale, P < 0.001). Residents were more likely to pursue a profession in inpatient IM than in primary care (3.7 vs 2.3, P < 0.001). No correlation was found between higher show rates, continuity with patients, or proportion of visits conducted through telemedicine and resident satisfaction with CC.

Conclusions: This study aligns with previous findings of IM resident dissatisfaction with CC training while adding a side-by-side comparison to inpatient training and including objective CC data. We identified new areas for improvement of CC training, including residents’ medical knowledge through review of quality metrics, making CC representative of real-world practice, and mentorship from faculty.

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