What Is Primary Care?


Primary care is a vital part of the health system. It involves a comprehensive and integrated approach to providing promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative health services. It also includes essential public health functions such as disease prevention, health promotion, surveillance, and response to emergency situations.

The definition of primary care has not always been a clear one. It has sometimes been understood in terms of the first contact, or entry point, of health care delivery. However, this narrow definition can be restrictive and ineffective, as well as confusing. It can lead to confusion about the function of primary care and what kinds of clinicians provide it.

A more functional definition of primary care is needed to make the role and function of primary care clearer for health service planners, policymakers, and clinicians who count primary care clinicians. This definition, which focuses on the functions that primary care provides rather than on what is called "first contact," allows for flexibility in terms of where and how patients are entered into the health care system. It can also help to address some of the tensions associated with counting and paying for primary care clinicians.


In a healthy primary care system, patients have ready and easy access to a clinician regardless of what organ system they are afflicted with or what health problem is being addressed. In a well-functioning system, patients may also be able to enter a primary care clinic for treatment without being required to complete the necessary steps, such as obtaining authorizations, before receiving treatment.

Technical quality

When people are provided with care that is competent and effective, their health improves significantly and their use of resources is more efficient. This happens because of a combination of technical and interpersonal aspects of care, which include the skill and knowledge of the clinician in making correct diagnoses, prescribing appropriate medications, and eliciting and including patient preferences.

Interpersonal quality

The Doctor-Patient Relationship is at the heart of primary care. The two of them must work together in a partnership. They must both be accountable to each other, to their patients, and to the health care system in which they practice. The primary care clinician is responsible for developing the patient-clinician relationship, conveying full and timely information to the patient, undertaking reasonable preventive care, making referrals when needed, and sustaining the relationship over time.


The primary care clinician, the primary care practice, and the health care system all provide important resources to support a person-centred, team-based, and community-aligned approach to the provision of primary care. These resources include people who can serve as care coordinators and advocates, a variety of technology to support efficient health care delivery, and an integrated, collaborative approach that promotes patient engagement.

Using these resources in the best way possible ensures that the patient is a partner in their own health care. This can be done in many ways, from the initial patient education sessions about their condition to the ongoing care that a primary care doctor offers. For example, a primary care doctor can give the patient and their family support and guidance on how to manage their condition by helping them understand and implement a treatment plan that is suited to the needs of the patient. They can also provide referrals to specialists when necessary and help the patient manage their own health care. Explore more on this subject by clicking here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_health_centre.

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