Primary Care: Medicine's Gordian Knot.
Primary care is the cornerstone of effective and efficient healthcare systems. Patients prefer a trusted primary care provider to serve as the first contact for all of their healthcare questions, to help them make important health decisions, to help guide them through an expanding amount of medical information and to help coordinate their care with all other providers. Patients also prefer to establish an ongoing, continuous relationship with their primary care provider. However, fewer and fewer physicians are choosing primary care as a career, threatening the foundation of the health system. We explore the central challenges of primary care defined by work-force controversies about who can best deliver primary care. We also explore the current challenging reimbursement model for primary care that often results in fragmenting care for patients and providers. Finally, we explore new models of primary care health delivery that may serve as partial solutions to the current challenges.
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