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Ask for a definition of primary care, and you are likely to hear as many answers as there are health care professionals in your survey. "Primary Care" fills this gap with a detailed definition already adopted by professional organizations and praised at recent conferences. This volume makes recommendations for improving primary care, building its organization, financing, infrastructure, and knowledge base - as well as developing a way of thinking and acting for primary care clinicians. Are there enough primary care doctors? Are they merely gatekeepers? Is the traditional relationship between patient and doctor outmoded? The committee draws conclusions about these and other controversies in a comprehensive and up-to-date discussion that covers: the scope of primary care; its philosophical underpinnings; its value to the patient and the community; its impact on cost, access, and quality. This volume discusses the needs of special populations, the role of the capitation method of payment, and more. Recommendations are offered for achieving a more multidisciplinary education for primary care clinicians. Research priorities are identified. "Primary Care" provides a forward-thinking view of primary care as it should be practiced in the new integrated health care delivery systems - important to health care clinicians and those who train and employ them, policymakers at all levels, health care managers, payers, and interested individuals.
National Academies Press
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