A re-emerging political space for linking person and community through primary health care

Am J Prev Med. 2012 Jun;42(6 Suppl 2):S184-90. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.03.013.


Purpose: The goal of the study was to understand how national policy key informants perceive the value and changing role of primary care in the context of emerging political opportunities.

Methods: Thirteen semistructured interviews were conducted in May 2011 with leaders of federal agencies, think tanks, nonprofits, and quality standard-defining organizations with influence over healthcare reform policies and implementation. Interviews were recorded; an editing and immersion-crystallization analysis approach was used to identify themes.

Results: Four themes were identified: (1) affirmation of primary care as the foundation of a more effective healthcare system, (2) the patient-centered medical home as a transitional step to foster practice innovation and payment reform, (3) the urgent need for an increased focus on community and population health in primary care, and (4) the ongoing need for advocacy and research efforts to keep primary care on public and policy agendas.

Conclusions: Current efforts to reform primary care are only intermediate steps toward a system with a greater focus on community and population health. Transformed and policy-enabled primary care is an essential link between personalized care and population health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Government Agencies
  • Health Care Reform*
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Organizations
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Politics
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Public Health*
  • Research
  • United States