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The Issue

What is primary care?

Primary care - scrabblePrimary care means frontline care, and it can come from doctors (family physicians, internists or pediatricians), physician assistants or nurse practitioners, with help from other team members such as nurses, physical/occupational therapists, dentists, pharmacists, social workers, psychologists and others. Primary care clinicians are the quarterbacks of patient care. They make sure that their patients and their needs don’t fall through the cracks of our increasingly confusing health care system. Primary care clinicians care for their patients across the spectrum of their care, including:

  • being the first point of contact for undiagnosed health problems
  • comprehensive, whole-person care
  • building longitudinal relationships and treating chronic problems
  • coordinating across other health services
Why is primary care so important?

It’s simple: Primary care clinicians ensure that patients get the right care, in the right setting, by the most appropriate practitioner and in a manner consistent with the patient’s desires and values. Data on our health care system increasingly show that areas with higher concentrations of primary care clinicians have lower cost, higher quality health care. But we don’t need data to confirm what each of us know already: the incredible value of being cared for by someone who knows us well and understands both our health issues and our personal values. Key stakeholders – employers, legislators and patients – are increasingly recognizing the value of primary care.

What is revitalized primary care?

Primary care that achieves the "quadruple aim" is what we consider revitalized. The quadruple calls for providing better health care, enhancing the patient experience, lowering health care costs and improving the work life of health care clinicians and staff members.You can learn more about the quadruple aim here.

Learn about PCP's primary care revitalization efforts through clinical innovation, leadership development and change making.

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