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Primary Care/Medical Home

"...The most direct route to the Triple Aim is via patient- and family-centered care in its fullest form."
Don Berwick, June 5, 2012

Primary Care

Medical Home

In a June 2013 article, Primary Care: Our First Line of Defense, The Commonwealth Fund noted, "...primary care providers [a family physician, an internist, a pediatrician, or a nurse practitioner] are often the first contact" an individual has with the health care system. "Practicing in private offices, community health centers, and hospitals, they diagnose and treat common illnesses and spot minor health problems before they become serious ones. They offer preventive services such as flu shots, cancer screening, and counseling on diet and smoking, and play an important role in helping to manage the care of patients with chronic health conditions."

According to this article "evidence shows that good access to primary care can help us live longer, feel better, and avoid disability and long absences from work...Another big plus: health care costs are lower when people have a primary care provider overseeing their care and coordinating all the tests, procedures, and follow-up care."

The core principles of patient- and family-centered care serve to make primary care responsive to the concerns and priorities of all. Patients and their families are involved as partners in their own care as well as in planning, implementing, and evaluating improvements to the systems of care. Patient- and family-centered care places an emphasis on collaborating with patients and families of all ages, at all levels of care, and in all health care settings. Further, it acknowledges that families—however that term is defined by the patient—are essential to patients' health and well-being and are allies for quality and safety.

Primary care providers who practice patient- and family-centered care know that high-quality, safe care requires partnerships with patients and family members as well as with other care providers and community members. This approach enhances the quality and experience of care for patients and families and the quality of the work experience for practitioners and staff.

Read the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative's list of major milestones for primary care and the medical home.

Patient-Centered Medical Home

The concept of the "medical home" was first described over 25 years ago as a strategy to promote family-centered, community-based, coordinated care for children with special health care needs and has been subsequently adapted to more broadly apply to primary care for other populations. Read more.


Promising Practices

Patients and Families as Advisors in Primary Care

Collaborative Self-Management Support for Chronic Conditions

Organizational Change

Useful Links and Resources

cover of Advancing the Practice of Patient- and Family-Centered Ambulatory Care: How to Get Started

Advancing the Practice of Patient- and Family-Centered Ambulatory Care: How to Get Started.

What is patient- and family-centered ambulatory care? Why does it matter? How does it fit with our overall mission? And finally, what can our practice or organization do to advance the practice of patient- and family-centered care? Read more.