Advancing Primary Care Delivery: Practical, Proven, and Scalable Solutions

The American health care system is facing an aging population and increasing rates of chronic conditions, making primary care more important than ever.  Unfortunately, even with an increasing number of insured patients, too many Americans lack access to primary care.

A new report from the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization, “Advancing Primary Care Delivery: Practical, Proven, and Scalable Solutions”  contains new findings on the distribution of primary care resources and outlines real-world solutions that can help increase access to high-quality primary care, such as: 

  • The supply of primary care physicians – which leads to better health outcomes and less use of avoidable hospital services – is lower in rural areas and where median household income is lower and the rates of uninsured are higher.  These challenges may not be fully addressed by increases in insurance coverage and the supply of primary care physicians.  
  • Key building blocks that can help primary care practices increase capacity and quality of care include increasing the roles of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, practicing team-based care, and using health information technology. 
  • Advanced care delivery models that leverage these building blocks can improve quality and reduce costs – as long as they pay for value rather than volume. 
  • Analysis of a range of proven and scalable approaches to expanding access and targeting capacity outside of physician practices that includes leveraging retail health clinics and delivering primary care and preventive services to patients in their homes.

The UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization conducts research and analysis on our nation’s key health care challenges and advances practical, evidence-based policy and market solutions.  Ensuring high-quality primary care services is a core component of UnitedHealth Group’s commitment to helping to build an effective and sustainable health care system. 

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