Why Share the Care?

The image of the Lone Physician is a relic of the past. Today’s primary care physicians would require 7.4 hours per working day to meet the preventive care needs and an additional 10.6 hours per day to meet the chronic care needs of a typical panel of 2,500 patients [1,2]. Shortages of primary care providers are expected to worsen in coming years, meaning that these stressors will only grow greater [3–5]. This model is not sustainable.

In order to meet the primary care needs of the 21st century, we must utilize the skills of every member of the care team. Empowering non-clinician team members – nurses, medical assistants, and health coaches – can help meet the demand for care while providing opportunities for more fulfilling patient interactions. In this new vision of primary care, the expanded and empowered care team can conduct group visits, e-Visits, and nurse and health coach visits to create greater capacity and address patient needs in a timely manner. This new vision is our Share the Care model, and we have developed 10 Building Blocks that describe the process of building high performing primary care practices.

Tools to discuss Sharing the Care with your practice

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[1] Østbye T, Yarnall KSH, Krause KM, Pollak KI, Gradison M, Michener JL: Is there time for management of patients with chronic diseases in primary care? Ann Fam Med 2005, 3(3):209–214.

[2] Yarnall KSH, Pollak KI, Østbye T, Krause KM, Michener JL: Primary care: is there enough time for prevention? Am J Public Health 2003, 93(4):635–641.

[3] American College of Physicians (ACP). Creating a new national workforce for internal medicine. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians; 2006: Position Paper. Accessed October 3, 2012 from http://www.acponline.org/advocacy/where_we_stand/policy/im_workforce.pdf.

[4] Bodenheimer T & Tham HH. Primary care: Current problems and proposed solutions. Health Affairs 2010;29(5):799–805.

[5] Colwill et al., Health Affairs, 27, no.3 (2008):w232-w241