Primary care is an essential ingredient to a successful population health improvement strategy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Primary care teams bridge health care to other sectors, making effective connections between health care and health. For health care systems to improve patient and population health, the important role of primary care must be recognized, celebrated, and strengthened. This commentary explores several of the current hot topics in policy discussions (eg, social determinants of health, population health) and gives examples of how these theoretical discussions are relevant to the real world of patient care. It concludes with a few key points on how the system can better support the important population health improvement work done by primary care teams. Changes in the way primary care is delivered, reimbursed, and measured are needed to support the health promoting and healing work that happens continuously, not just during a clinic visit or inside the clinic walls. Renewed investments must be made to strengthen delivery models that enable longitudinal, trusting relationships to develop between patients and primary care teams. Payment systems must shift away from fee-for-service models to new holistic reimbursement methods that reflect the value of a comprehensive scope of primary care practice and continuity of care. Measuring what matters in primary care will help to realign our focus on health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-472
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Population Health
  • Primary Health Care
  • Social Determinants of Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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