Realizing the Dream: The Future of Primary Care Research

Ann Fam Med. 2022 Mar-Apr;20(2):170-174. doi: 10.1370/afm.2788. Epub 2022 Feb 14.


Primary care research is central to the successful transformation of care delivery, providing the crucial evidence to overcome the longstanding and widespread threats and challenges to the realization of primary care's full potential. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), as the federal agency specifically charged with conducting and supporting primary care research, plays a pivotal role in supporting the research and generating the evidence needed to advance primary care. Drawing upon decades of AHRQ-supported research studies, extensive stakeholder consultation, and a Primary Care Research Summit held in fall 2020, we discuss the primary care research central to successful primary care transformation and for realizing the vision of a high-performing US health system to effectively serve all Americans and their communities while advancing health equity.Realizing the potential of primary care will require wise investments in primary care research. Newly generated evidence needs to be rapidly incorporated into the design of the delivery system, clinical care, and community interventions. Investments in evidence-informed primary care redesign can catalyze progress to achieving the quintuple aim-improved health outcomes, increased value, better patient and clinician experience, and health equity. Primary care research can provide the evidence to help stem the twin epidemics of clinician burnout and lack of trust in the health system. Actualizing this vision will require a concerted and coordinated effort by policy makers, researchers, clinicians, and community members and a commitment to ensuring people and communities have ready access to primary care.Appeared as Annals "Online First" article.

Keywords: health equity; health system performance; patient-centered care; primary care; primary health care; quality of care.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Forecasting
  • Health Equity*
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care
  • United States
  • United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality