Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Paige NM, Apaydin EA, Goldhaber-Fiebert JD, Mak S, Miake-Lye IM, Begashaw MM, Severin JM, Shekelle PG. What Is the Optimal Primary Care Panel Size?: A Systematic Review. Annals of internal medicine. 2020 Jan 21.
PubMed logo Search for Abstract from PubMed
(This link leaves the website of VA HSR&D.)

Abstract: Background: Primary care for a panel of patients is a central component of population health, but the optimal panel size is unclear. Purpose: To review evidence about the association of primary care panel size with health care outcomes and provider burnout. Data Sources: English-language searches of multiple databases from inception to October 2019 and Google searches performed in September 2019. Study Selection: English-language studies of any design, including simulation models, that assessed the association between primary care panel size and safety, efficacy, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency, equity, or provider burnout. Data Extraction: Independent, dual-reviewer extraction; group consensus rating of certainty of evidence. Data Synthesis: Sixteen hypothesis-testing studies and 12 simulation modeling studies met inclusion criteria. All but 1 hypothesis-testing study were cross-sectional assessments of association. Three studies each provided low-certainty evidence that increasing panel size was associated with no or modestly adverse effects on patient-centered and effective care. Eight studies provided low-certainty evidence that increasing panel size was associated with variable effects on timely care. No studies assessed the effect of panel size on safety, efficiency, or equity. One study provided very-low-certainty evidence of an association between increased panel size and provider burnout. The 12 simulation studies evaluated 5 models; all used access as the only outcome of care. Five and 2 studies, respectively, provided moderate-certainty evidence that adjusting panel size for case mix and adding clinical conditions to the case mix resulted in better access. Limitation: No studies had concurrent comparison groups, and published and unpublished studies may have been missed. Conclusion: Evidence is insufficient to make evidence-based recommendations about the optimal primary care panel size for achieving beneficial health outcomes. Primary Funding Source: Veterans Affairs Quality Enhancement Research Initiative.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.