All Shorenstein APARC Multimedia

Evidence on the Benefits of Primary Care: Implications for Asia

  • Barbara Starfield

As part of health reforms announced in April 2009, China plans to expand and strengthen primary care (i.e., provision of first contact, person-focused, ongoing care over time, and coordinating care when people receive services from other providers). Other nations of Asia continue to grapple with how to promote population health and constrain healthcare spending. What is the evidence about the effectiveness of primary care in improving population health and making healthcare accessible and affordable?

In this talk, Dr. Starfield will speak about the robust evidence of the association between primary care and better health outcomes at lower cost; ways of measuring the effectiveness of primary care; how selected Asian countries compare in such rankings; and the broader implications of primary care research for health policy in Asia.

Dr. Starfield, a physician and health services researcher, is internationally known for her work in primary care; her books, Primary Care:  Concept, Evaluation, and Policy and Primary Care: Balancing Health Needs, Services, and Technology, are widely recognized as the seminal works in the field.  She has been instrumental in leading projects to develop important methodological tools, including the Primary Care Assessment Tool, the CHIP tools (to assess adolescent and child health status), and the Johns Hopkins Adjusted Clinical Groups (ACGs) for assessment of diagnosed morbidity burdens reflecting degrees of  co-morbidity.   She was the co-founder and first president of the International Society for Equity in Health, a scientific organization devoted to furthering knowledge about the determinants of inequity in health and ways to eliminate them.  Her work thus focuses on quality of care, health status assessment, primary care evaluation, and equity in health. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine and has been on its governing council, and has been a member ofthe National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and many other government and professional committees and groups. She has a BA from Swarthmore College, an MD from the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, and an MPH from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.