Primary care: the next renaissance

Ann Intern Med. 2003 Feb 4;138(3):268-72. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-138-3-200302040-00036.


Three decades ago, a renaissance helped create the foundations of primary care as we know it today. In recent years, however, new challenges have confronted primary care. We believe that the current challenges can be overcome and may, in fact, present an opportunity for a new renaissance of primary care to address the needs of our population. In this paper, we suggest seven core principles and a set of actions that will support a renaissance in, and a positive future for, primary care. The seven principles are 1) Health care must be organized to serve the needs of patients; 2) the goal of primary care systems should be the delivery of the highest-quality care as documented by measurable outcomes; 3) information and information systems are the backbone of the primary care process; 4) current health care systems must be reconstructed; 5) the health care financing system must support excellent primary care practice; 6) primary care education must be revitalized, with an emphasis on new delivery models and training in sites that deliver excellent primary care; and 7) the value of primary care practice must be continually improved, documented, and communicated. At the start of the 21st century, a vital, patient-centered primary care system has much to offer a rapidly changing population with increasingly diverse needs and expectations. If we keep the needs of persons and patients clearly in sight and design systems to meet those needs, primary care will thrive and our patients will be well served.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / standards
  • Health Care Reform
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Information Systems
  • Physicians, Family / education
  • Primary Health Care / standards
  • Primary Health Care / trends*
  • United States