Primary Care

Providing continuous, accessible care

Primary care facilities are generally a patient’s first point of contact for healthcare needs. Most people think of a doctor’s office, but primary care can also be delivered in community health clinics, schools, dentist offices, and many other locations.

Primary care practitioners focus on patient-centered prevention through the following means:

  • Health promotion
  • Disease prevention
  • Health maintenance
  • Care coordination
  • Patient education

 In addition to improving overall health for the patient through preventative measures, primary care also reduces medical costs by addressing health concerns before they become catastrophic.

Primary care diagram

Career opportunities in primary care can include:

What Is It Like to Work in Primary Care?

Primary care providers offer a patient continuous care over time that tends to their overall wellness. To achieve these goals, it is important that a primary care provider coordinates a patient’s care with other providers.  For example, a primary care provider is expected to collaborate with physicians, specialists, and caregivers. Caregivers also keep the patient informed and involved in making decisions regarding their treatment. New roles are emerging in primary care to assist with care coordination.

Primary care is also evolving to be very focused on patient-involved preventative care. The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model is one example of a change in the way primary care is being delivered in some offices and clinics.


Current trends for careers in primary care:

  • Increased job opportunities
    (especially for primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants).
  • Increased financial aid
    for healthcare education.
  • Higher Wages
    for healthcare professionals in a primary care setting.
50% of all healthcare workers work in a hospital
Question 1 Explanation: 
False. Approximately 30% of Western Mass healthcare workers work in a hospital. Others have jobs in the community, in nursing homes, or in "ambulatory healthcare services" - doctors' offices, home healthcare and diagnostic labs.