The chief primary care medical officer: Restoring continuity

Noemi Doohan, Jennifer DeVoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The year 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the hospitalist profession, with more than 50,000 physicians identifying as hospitalists. The Achilles heel of hospitalist medicine, however, is discontinuity. Despite many current payment and delivery systems rewarding this discontinuity and severing long-term relationships between patient and primary care teams at the hospital door, primary care does not stop being important when a person is admitted to the hospital. The notion of a broken primary care continuum is not an academic construct, it causes real harm to patients. As a step toward fixing the discontinuity in our health care systems, we propose that every hospital needs a Chief Primary Care Medical Officer (CPCMO), an expert in practice across the spectrum of care. The CPCMO can lead hospital efforts to create systems that ensure primary care’s continuum is complete, while strengthening physician collaboration across specialties, and moving toward achieving the Quadruple Aim of enhancing patient experience, improving population health, reducing costs, and improving the work life of health care providers. For hospitals operating on value-based payment structures, anticipated improvement in measurable outcomes such as decreased length of stay, decreased readmission rates, improved transitions of care, improved patient satisfaction, improved access to primary care, and improved patient health, will enhance the rate of return on the hospital’s investment. The speciality of family medicine should reevaluate our purpose, and reembrace our mission as personal physicians by championing the creation of Chief Primary Care Medical Officers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-371
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017


  • Continuity of patient care
  • Hospital administration
  • Primary health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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