To help preserve primary care's standing as the backbone of health care delivery amid changing health policy, the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) recently released a set of principles that can serve as a vision statement for primary care.
The collaborative's Shared Principles of Primary Care(www.pcpcc.org), developed in cooperation with Family Medicine for America's Health(fmahealth.org), lists seven broad principles with detailed descriptions of each one. They were created to help primary care clinicians think strategically and speak with one voice during advocacy campaigns and in meetings with government officials. The AAFP Board of Directors voted to support the principles in July, and the PCPCC is inviting other organizations to sign on by Sept. 2.
The seven principles say primary care should be
- person- and family-centered,
- comprehensive and equitable,
- team-based and collaborative,
- coordinated and integrated,
- and high value.
Given recent changes to the health care system made by federal legislation and new payment methods, the PCPCC thought the time was right to frame the future of primary care.
"These shared principles -- developed by stakeholders representing all aspects of health care -- are designed to move the United States toward a vibrant future of person-centered, team-based, community-aligned primary care that will help achieve the goals of better health, better care and lower costs," the group states on its website.
The principles were developed by a team of individuals representing families, clinicians, researchers and others in the health care field. Feedback was solicited from patients and families, as well as through two public surveys.
Because primary care delivery now encompasses more teams from various disciplines, the principles emphasize the need to provide team-based care while preserving the value of whole-person care and care coordination. They call for health care professionals to "work together at the top of their skill set, according to clearly defined roles and responsibilities."
"Primary care addresses the whole person with appropriate clinical and supportive services that include acute, chronic and preventive care, behavioral and mental health, oral health, health promotion and more," the principles state.
Highlighting the importance of continuous care, the principles call for continuity in relationships that allow for knowledge of patients, as well as their families, so clinicians have perspective for care through all stages of a patient's life.
The principle of comprehensive and equitable care stresses the importance of the social determinants of health and social inequality, and calls on care to be tailored accordingly.
Finally, the principles put a spotlight on the value of primary care by noting that it not only achieves excellent outcomes for individuals and families, but it also allows patients and payers to use their resources wisely.
"The vision outlined in these Shared Principles of Primary Care will result in excellent outcomes for individuals and families, and more satisfying and sustainable careers for clinicians and staff," says the PCPCC. "It is a vision that is aspirational, yet achievable when stakeholders work together."
Related AAFP News Coverage
Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative Report
Broader Look Shows How PCMH Touches Practices, Patients