Benefits of Primary Care Intervention

Primary care intervention refers to any instance in which a member of the primary health care team makes a change that may result in an effect on the health outcomes of a patient.

In many cases, these interventions may seem insignificant at the time, and the effects of the intervention are often not perceived until a later date. However, the benefits of primary care interventions are clear, both for overall patient health outcomes and for reducing the financial strain on tertiary care interventions.

Health promotion and prevention of disease

Patients of all ages can benefit from useful health advice from primary care practitioners (PCPs), particularly in the ongoing prevention of disease.

An understanding of the patient’s overall lifestyle, diet, physical activity, and family medical history will help the practitioner to provide relevant advice and encourage the patient to care for their body in a healthy way.

Primary care interventions may include health promotion advice, such as encouraging a patient to lose excess weight by eating a healthier diet and engaging in regular physical activity to reduce the risk of disease.

Early detection and diagnosis

One of the most prominent benefits of primary care interventions is the possibility of detecting early signs of disease in a timely manner in order to enable its diagnosis and management.

Annual check-ups are encouraged in primary care for this reason; patients who may not be aware of the symptoms or would not otherwise seek medical advice may be diagnosed and treated appropriately.

The benefits of early detection, diagnosis, and disease management is evident in many chronic diseases.

For example, patients with high blood glucose levels or pre-diabetes may be able to reverse the condition by implementing diet and lifestyle changes, without the need for medications.

For patients with cancer, earlier diagnosis is correlated with improved survival rates.

A wide spectrum of utility

PCPs allow patients to discuss a broad spectrum of health issues and provide assistance to many possible areas.

These health professionals have a wide knowledge base of many different health conditions, which makes them a useful initial point of contact with the healthcare system. To this end, when a PCP recognizes that a patient may have a complex health issue that requires specialized medical care, they are able to make a referral to the appropriate specialist. This intervention provides the patients with a point of entry into the health system to see the health professional who is most useful for their needs.

Patient-practitioner relationship

Unlike any other medical professional who may be part of a patient’s overall healthcare team, patients and their PCP are able to establish an ongoing relationship. This fosters trust and understanding on both sides so that the patient can feel comfortable to take part in decision making for their health, ultimately leading to more positive health outcomes.

The ongoing nature of this relationship is pivotal to promoting positive health outcomes. As the practitioner spends more time with a certain patient, they are able to obtain a more complete overview of their health. As a result, they are in an advantageous position to pick up small early signs of disease and enable earlier interventions.

In conclusion, primary care intervention is valuable in the prevention and early diagnosis of a wide range of diseases. Additionally, the ongoing nature of the PCP and patient relationship provides a trusting environment that forms a strong base for making optimal decisions to promote patient health.

By Yolanda Smith, B.Pharm.
Reviewed by Benedette Cuffari, M.Sc.