Powering-Up Primary Care Teams: Advanced Team Care With In-Room Support

Ann Fam Med. 2019 Jul;17(4):367-371. doi: 10.1370/afm.2422.


Primary care teams are underpowered. Teams do not maximally redistribute team functions when clinicians are diverted from activities where they add the most value. This commentary describes "advanced team care with in-room support" as a way to "power-up" primary care teams. In this core team model, each clinician is paired with 2 or 3 highly trained medical assistants or nurses-care team coordinators (CTCs).Early evidence suggests that this model is more satisfying to clinicians, staff, and patients and is financially sustainable. Yet its spread has been hobbled by several misguided beliefs, such as that the physician can and should do most tasks, that technology replaces people, that health care is a transactional endeavor more than a therapeutic relationship, that regulation is the main lever by which to advance quality, and that the principal way to increase net revenue is to reduce overhead. A shift in mindset is needed to energize primary care.

Keywords: patient care team; primary care.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*