What Are the Benefits of Primary Health Care?

Helen Akers

Some business executives and medical professionals argue that the benefits of primary health care include lower medical costs and better overall health. Primary health care refers to a government-subsidized or universal health care system versus a reliance on private insurance. The system tends to focus on affordable prevention through primary care physicians rather than specialist and emergency treatments. Primary health care systems also centralize and coordinate billing, scheduling, and patient referrals through the use of information technology and physician incentives.

Primary health care offers the benefit of lower costs for the patient community.
Primary health care offers the benefit of lower costs for the patient community.

The benefits of primary health care include lower costs for the patient community. One of the major goals of a universal health care system is to make access to medical services and practitioners efficient and affordable. As of 2011, health care costs in many industrialized countries have increased to a point where private health insurance and treatment have become unaffordable for many people. Universal health care systems attempt to evenly distribute health care costs amongst the government and care providers in order to reduce the burden on ordinary citizens.

One of the focuses of a primary health care system is preventative care and education. Primary care physicians who practice internal and general medicine tend to recommend screenings and tests that can catch diseases in their early stages. Being able to proactively address a wide variety of potential issues may increase a patient's overall health. Focusing on disease prevention through weight reduction, physical fitness, nutrition, immunizations, and routine check-ups can delay or deter the onset of multiple conditions, and is thus another of the benefits of primary health care.

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Accessibility to quality doctors and treatments is another of the potential benefits of primary health care. Since the restrictions of high costs and private insurance limitations are theoretically removed, more individuals are able to receive the care they need. High co-payments and annual deductibles may prevent some individuals from seeking routine and preventative care simply because they cannot afford it. In some cases, seeking treatment and care within the approved networks of private insurance plans can also be an issue.

Since one of the benefits of primary health care is a centralized system, hassles with transferring patient information, billing and referrals tend to be reduced or eliminated. Another main idea underlying the universal health care model is to broaden the network of available providers, including specialists, hospitals and emergency rooms. The payments and incentives that health care providers and physicians receive also tend to equalize in a primary care system. This can reduce the amount of patient rejections due to an insurance carrier's unwillingness to pay.

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