The main goal of primary care is to ensure the health of every individual. To do that, it was designed to be accessible to the general public. Primary care plays various roles to implement this goal which includes:
- Provide an initial encounter between the patient and the healthcare system
- Provide easier access to medical care for every individual
- Improve the health of every patient, leading to better health of the public in general
- Focus on the individual as a whole instead of the specific illness
- Make health care equally accessible to everyone
- Organize health services on different levels
- Help to train leaders in effective health care
- Provide a link between patients, physicians, public health workers, and everyone involved in health care
- Prevent different health conditions before they appear
- Avoid the worsening of existing health conditions through early intervention
- Improve the relationship between patients and health care providers
Primary health care is provided by a team consisting of several healthcare professionals. It usually includes a primary care physician, a nurse, a family practice doctor, an internal medicine doctor, a gynecologist and obstetrician, a geriatrician, and a pediatrician.
The fundamental role is that of the primary care physician. Among his main responsibilities are the following:
- Give patients information about the healthcare system and access to different resources
- Apply their broad knowledge about physical, psychological, and social healthcare factors
- Build a relationship of trust between the practitioner and the patient
- Gather information about different aspects of a patient’s life to gain perspective on their health condition
- Make referrals to specialists as and when needed
Every primary care provider works with these goals in mind to improve the health of each of their patients. If illnesses can be prevented, then the general well-being of the population improves as well.
However, the role of the patient is also important in reaching these goals. If you visit your primary care physician timely and follow all their indications, you can greatly contribute to your health.