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Doctor For patients, enhanced access to primary care includes care when they need it such as outside of normal business hours or over the weekend or technology-based access such as telemedicine. (Photo: Getty)

Primary care is a cornerstone of any purchaser’s health care strategy. Based on the numbers alone, it presents a great opportunity to initiate early treatments and establish a continuous relationship with patients before, during and after a medical need or in managing chronic conditions. But over the years, its overall effectiveness and impact have suffered due to misaligned reimbursement, lack of care coordination, and infrastructure limitations. These flaws have compromised the ability to support people with increased health needs and, particularly, to treat the whole person, rather than just the presenting condition.

As a primary care physician for more than 34 years, I have experienced firsthand the traditional fee-for-service primary care model where health care providers may be expected to see 25+ patients/day, leading to insufficient time for engagement, a tendency to refer, and high frustration levels for all.

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