Although fragmentation in the provision of services is considered an obstacle to effective health care, there is scant evidence on the impact of interventions to improve care coordination between primary care and secondary care in terms of continuity of care-i.e. from the patient perspective-particularly in Latin America (LA). Within the framework of the Equity-LA II project, interventions to improve coordination across care levels were implemented in five Latin American countries (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay) through a participatory action research (PAR) process. This paper analyses the impact of these PAR interventions on the cross-level continuity of care of chronic patients in public healthcare networks. A quasi-experimental study was performed with measurements based on two surveys of a sample of patients with chronic conditions (392 per network; 800 per country). Both the baseline (2015) and evaluation (2017) surveys were conducted using the CCAENA questionnaire. In each country, two comparable public healthcare networks were selected, one intervention and one control. Outcomes were cross-level continuity of information and clinical management continuity. Descriptive analyses were conducted, and Poisson regression models with robust variance were fitted to estimate changes. With differences between countries, the results showed improvements in cross-level continuity of clinical information (transfer of clinical information) and clinical management continuity (care coherence). These results are consistent with those of previous studies on the effectiveness of the interventions implemented in each country in improving care coordination in Brazil, Chile and Colombia. Differences between countries are probably related to particular contextual factors and events that occurred during the implementation process. This supports the notion that certain context and process factors are needed to improve continuity of care. The results provide evidence that, although the interventions were designed to enhance care coordination and aimed at health professionals, patients report improvements in continuity of care.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Policy