Maximizing Primary Care Access

Expand access to primary care by increasing practice productivity and developing a coordinated network of alternative care sites.

Executive Summary

Focus on primary care intensifies amid lingering access barriers

Ambulatory growth is now a strategic priority for many hospitals and health systems. With payment reform and an aging, chronically ill population, organizations are employing more primary care physicians (PCPs) to mitigate referral disruptions and ensure downstream volume capture.

Primary care utilization will grow from 494 million visits to more than 590 million visits by 2020, overloading an already-backlogged system. Appointment wait times currently average 20 days, and the PCP shortage is only expected to worsen.

Only half of adults receive guideline-recommended preventive and chronic care, suggesting significant latent demand that—if unmet—will result in unnecessary, low-margin inpatient utilization as the population ages and sickens.

Imperative to elevate practice productivity and leverage the coordinated network

To expand access amid the provider shortage, hospitals and health system leaders must partner with primary care colleagues to improve practice productivity and supplement practice offerings with an integrated network of alternative care sites. It will be critical to evaluate new care delivery approaches, from migrating practices toward the ideal size to implementing group visits and redesigning facilities.

In addition, providers and health systems should integrate additional access points to supplement capacity and increase market share, potentially by tapping key stakeholders for targeted network siting, catalyzing growth through co-location, and increasing worksite clinic presence.

Read on to learn more

Marketing and Planning Leadership Council members can access the full study to learn more about the challenges facing hospital leaders as they prepare for ambulatory volume growth—as well as strategies that progressive organizations are using to expand primary care access.

By reading this study, members will:

  • Understand the forecast for primary care volume growth
  • Explore ways to improve practice productivity through the use of care teams, group visits, efficiency improvements, and facility redesign
  • Learn how to develop an integrated network of alternative primary care access points, including urgent care centers, retail clinics, worksite clinics, and e-visits

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