Health is primary: Family medicine for America's health

Robert L. Phillips, Perry A. Pugno, John Saultz, Michael L. Tuggy, Jeffrey M. Borkan, Grant S. Hoekzema, Jennifer E. DeVoe, Jane A. Weida, Lars E. Peterson, Lauren S. Hughes, Jerry E. Kruse, James C. Puffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: More than a decade ago the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, American Board of Family Medicine, Association of Departments of Family Medicine, Association of Family Practice Residency Directors, North American Primary Care Research Group, and Society of Teachers of Family Medicine came together in the Future of Family Medicine (FFM) to launch a series of strategic efforts to "renew the specialty to meet the needs of people and society," some of which bore important fruit. Family Medicine for America's Health was launched in 2013 to revisit the role of family medicine in view of these changes and to position family medicine with new strategic and communication plans to create better health, better health care, and lower cost for patients and communities (the Triple Aim).

METHODS: Family Medicine for America's Health was preceded and guided by the development of a family physician role definition. A consulting group facilitated systematic strategic plan development over 9 months that included key informant interviews, formal stakeholder surveys, future scenario testing, a retreat for family medicine organizations and stakeholder representatives to review strategy options, further strategy refinement, and finally a formal strategic plan with draft tactics and design for an implementation plan. A second communications consulting group surveyed diverse stakeholders in coordination with strategic planning to develop a communication plan. The American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians joined the effort, and students, residents, and young physicians were included.

RESULTS: The core strategies identified include working to ensure broad access to sustained, primary care relationships; accountability for increasing primary care value in terms of cost and quality; a commitment to helping reduce health care disparities; moving to comprehensive payment and away from fee-for-service; transformation of training; technology to support effective care; improving research underpinning primary care; and actively engaging patients, policy makers, and payers to develop an understanding of the value of primary care. The communications plan, called Health is Primary, will complement these strategies. Eight family medicine organizations have pledged nearly $20 million and committed representatives to a multiyear implementation team that will coordinate these plans in a much more systematic way than occurred with FFM.

CONCLUSIONS: Family Medicine for America's Health is a new commitment by 8 family medicine organizations to strategically align work to improve practice models, payment, technology, workforce and education, and research to support the Triple Aim. It is also a humble invitation to patients and to clinical and policy partners to collaborate in making family medicine even more effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S1-S12
JournalAnnals of family medicine
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • delivery of health care
  • health care economics and organizations
  • health services research
  • primary health care
  • quality of health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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