As the largest society of primary care physicians, the AAFP is committed to building healthy communities, lowering health care costs, and improving patient health and well-being through high-quality health care delivery and access.
Family physicians play an important role in community health, both as clinicians and as leaders who understand that what takes place outside of the doctor’s office (the social determinants of health) affects health outcomes. Primary care (comprehensive, first contact, whole person, continuing care) is the foundation of an efficient health system.
An increase of one primary care physician per 10,000 people is associated with an average mortality reduction of 5.3%, or 49 fewer deaths per 100,000 per year. U.S. states with higher ratios of primary care physicians to population have better health outcomes, including lower rates of all causes of mortality, including heart disease, cancer, and stroke. High quality primary care is necessary to achieve the triple aim of improving population health; enhancing the patient experience; and lowering per capita costs to encourage prevention, treat acute health issues, identify adverse health conditions, and manage chronic diseases.
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