Future of Family Medicine Project 1.0

The Future of Family Medicine (FFM) Project was a joint effort of the Family Practice Working Party (WP) and the Academic Family Medicine Organizations (AFMO). These organizations include:

In January 2000, the Working Party recognized much discontent among family physicians, who were frustrated in their ability to provide the highest quality care for their patients, in the context of a health care delivery system that did not facilitate their primary health care role. The Working Party convened a historic conference, called Keystone III(www.stfm.org)(www.stfm.org) to "examine the soul of the discipline of family medicine, and to take stock of the present and grapple with the future of family practice." Following the Keystone III conference in October of 2000, the Working Party determined it was timely to review the role of family medicine in society and plan for its future.

A charge was developed for the FFM Project:
"Develop a strategy to transform and renew the specialty of family practice to meet the needs of people and society in a changing environment."

To fulfill this charge, several sets of questions were answered:

  • What are the core attributes of family practice, how can family practice best meet people’s expectations, and what systems of care should be delivered by family practice?
  • What are the training needs for family physicians to deliver the core attributes and services expected by people and the health care delivery system?
  • How can we ensure that family physicians continue to deliver the core attributes of family practice and the services the system expects throughout their careers?
  • What strategies should be employed to communicate the role of family physicians within medicine and health care, as well as to payers and patients?
  • What is family practice’s leadership role in shaping the future health care delivery system?

These questions were ultimately answered through both professional consultation and the utilization of broad national task forces.

The Working Party asked the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) to provide staff support for the project, and created a Project Leadership Committee to manage the project for the next two years.

The Project Leadership Committee, chaired by James C. Martin, MD, consisted of an elected leader and the CEO of each of the WP/AFMO organizations, plus the chairs of the five national task forces.

The five task forces of the FFM project were:

  • Task Force #1 - Task Force to Identify the Core Attributes of Family Practice, Reform Family Practice to Meet Consumer Expectations, and Determine Systems of Care to be Delivered by Family Practice
  • Task Force #2 - Task Force to Determine the Training Needed for Family Physicians to Deliver Core Attributes and System Services
  • Task Force #3 - Task Force to Ensure that Family Physicians Deliver Core Attributes and System Services Throughout Their Careers
  • Task Force #4 - Task Force to Determine Strategies for Communicating the Role of Family Physicians within Medicine and Health Care, as well as to Purchasers and Consumers
  • Task Force #5 - Task Force to Determine Family Practice’s Leadership Role in Shaping the Future Health Care Delivery System

The Project Leadership Committee engaged a national consulting firm, Siegelgale of New York, to do quantitative and qualitative research to answer the question, "What do people want and expect from health care professionals in the health care delivery system and what is the role that family physicians could or should play?" This professional consulting firm conducted focus groups and surveys of people whose care was provided by family physicians, people whose care was not provided by family physicians but provided by others, consumer advocacy groups, family physicians in practice, family physicians in academia, other physician specialists, nonphysician health care providers, employers, payers, government, residents, and medical students.

The Project Leadership Committee successfully received commitments of funding to support this historic project from the organizations making up the WP and AFMO, from outside organizations, from the federal government, and from philanthropic foundations. These organizations and foundations are recognized below.

The FFM project was launched in January 2002, beginning with the consulting research, followed by the work of the task forces. The project presented its findings and recommendations to the WP and AFMO in August 2003 and published its final report as a supplement to the March/April issue of Annals of Family Medicine. The implementation phase of the project began in early 2004.

Major support for the project was contributed by:

  • Eli Lilly Foundation
  • Pharmacia Corporation
  • Pharmacia Foundation
  • Pfizer Corporation
  • Pfizer Foundation
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

In addition, generous support was obtained from:

  • Health Resources and Services Administration
  • Schering-Plough Corporation
  • Wyeth Pharmaceuticals