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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lauren O'Byrne

Primary Care in America and How It’s Changing

Primary care will always be important because it provides first-contact care, continuity of care, comprehensiveness, or concern for the entire patient rather than one organ system, and coordination with other parts of the health system.

In recent years, the U.S. primary care delivery system has experienced many changes in the way health care is organized, delivered and financed. For instance, there has been an increased use of health information technology, a move toward team-based care and using non-physician providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants. There has also been an effort to better coordinate care through medical homes which are team-based health care delivery models led by a health care provider to provide comprehensive and continuous medical care to patients.

Only about a quarter of patients reported they could easily contact their primary care physician over the telephone, obtain care or medical advice after hours, or get timely office visits. The difficulties patients face gaining timely access to their primary care providers are caused by multiple factors, including practitioner shortages, geographic differences in where care is provided, and organizational issues within primary care practices.

The introduction of the direct primary care model helped to alleviate many of these issues. Direct primary care practices typically have longer, flexible appointment times, fewer patients and more technology options available to support your care. Physicians are also available outside of office hours to triage concerns. Many chronic and preventive care issues can be handled by brief telephone or e-mail encounters, if this is medically appropriate and desired by patients. This in turn provides more face-to-face time for patients who need traditional office visits.

Spry is more than a direct primary care model. We focus on personalized relationships with our members, which translates to excellent continuity of care. We strive to give you a personal primary care experience where your time is as valuable as ours. The reduced panel size helps us as physicians easily recall your individual medical information which we can apply any time we see you in the office or you contact us outside of office hours.

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