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Blog | Jul 05, 2023

The Impact of Primary Care on Health Outcomes

By agilon health staff

Imagine a time when the family doctor made house calls, treating not just the children but also their grandparents and parents. This personal and continuous relationship between patients and their primary care providers fostered a sense of trust and ensured comprehensive and tailored health care. Fast forward to today, and primary care continues to be the cornerstone of a high-performing healthcare system. It remains the first line of defense and the primary source of medical care for senior patients.

In this article, we will look at the importance of primary care in the value-based care model and explore the multitude of benefits it provides. From continuity of care to early detection and improved communication, primary care plays a vital role in enhancing patient well-being and shaping a healthier future.

Why Is Primary Care So Important?

Primary care holds a critical position in healthcare systems worldwide due to its profound impact on patient outcomes. Studies have shown that improved primary care leads to healthier patients and lower health care costs.

For every $1 invested in primary care, $13 is saved in downstream costs, saving the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars annually. 

Yet primary care is deeply undervalued in America compared to other countries. Under the current model, today’s PCPs do not have the time, capital, or access to expertise to assume responsibility for their patients’ total health needs. The economics of our healthcare system’s fee-for-service model place the wrong incentives and financial pressures on the practice of primary care medicine. agilon’s value-based care model empowers the primary care physician to serve as the care quarterback, creating a higher quality, more personalized experience for senior patients.

With upfront investments through the full-risk, value-based care model, agilon partners can focus on preventive care, early intervention, and coordination of comprehensive health care services, allowing primary care providers to effectively manage chronic conditions and reduce the need for hospitalizations or emergency room visits. These efforts not only enhance patient well-being but also result in significant savings and benefits for individuals and the broader healthcare system, including lower mortality rates and reduced health care expenditures.

How Does Primary Care in VBC Result in Better Patient Outcomes?

Primary care in the value-based care model has been shown to yield positive outcomes for senior patients in several ways. For instance, it ensures that people who have chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma are better able to manage their conditions because their primary care providers supply regular monitoring, medication management, and lifestyle interventions. Moreover, primary care fosters preventive care practices, such as vaccinations and screenings, which are instrumental in defending against disease and detecting conditions earlier.

“Because of this focus on value and outcomes, the primary care physician is in the best position to quarterback patient care,” Dr. Jay Dr. Zdunek, an agilon health partner, says. “The PCP knows the specialists, they know the patient and their family, and they can work with a team to ensure the continuation of care.”

Benefits of Primary Care in VBC

The promise of VBC in primary care is realized when incentives align. In a VBC model, doctors are compensated for the work they do to keep their patients healthy, manage illness when it occurs and avoid unnecessary visits and procedures. The fee-for-service model does the opposite – it prioritizes quantity over quality.


Continuity of care is a key component of primary care where long-term relationships are established between patients and their health care providers. This continuity allows for better understanding of patients’ medical history, preferences, and unique health care needs. By working with a health care provider who knows them well, patients can receive personalized and tailored care, resulting in improved outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.

Health Maintenance

Primary care focuses on preventive measures and health maintenance, promoting overall well-being. Regular check-ups, health screenings, and vaccinations help prevent chronic disease and identify potential health risks early on. By addressing health concerns proactively, primary care contributes to better health outcomes and reduces the burden of preventable illnesses.

Early Detection

Primary care plays a crucial role in the early detection of health conditions through regular screenings and comprehensive assessments. By identifying diseases at their initial stages, primary care providers can promptly implement interventions and treatment plans, resulting in improved patient prognosis and minimizing the long-term effects of illnesses. To enhance this process, agilon utilizes advanced technology to support physicians in their treatment programs. Our Physician Insights tool leverages artificial intelligence to assist our primary care physician partners in effectively measuring physician performance, monitoring patient progress beyond the exam room, and utilizing data to enhance care for their senior patients.

Better Communication

Effective communication between patients and health care providers is essential for optimal health outcomes. Primary care providers emphasize building strong doctor-patient relationships, fostering open dialogue, and active listening. This enhanced communication allows for better understanding of patients’ concerns, improved patient education, and increased adherence to treatment plans. By promoting effective communication, primary care enhances patient engagement and leads to better health outcomes.

Improve Health Outcomes with agilon health

agilon health is reimagining health care. Under agilon’s model, PCPs enter a total care relationship with their Medicare patients and are encouraged to think differently – focusing on keeping patients healthy and providing care in the most appropriate setting.

Learn more about how we can improve health outcomes by building a new primary care model that better serves both physicians and patients.

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