What is primary care? The American Academy of Family Physicians says it’s the foundation of health care and includes a host of services: health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, and diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses in a variety of health care settings.
Truly, the primary care clinician has to be a jack of all trades and a master of all as well, since he or she is often:
- The first point of contact for a patient with an undiagnosed health condition;
- The quarterback of the care team, coordinating services across providers and practices; and
- The constant in the patient’s care, building a long-term relationship and managing chronic conditions over time.
Research has shown that good access to primary care leads to lower costs and higher quality care, supporting its value as the foundation for our health care system.