Illinois Department of Public HealthJB Pritzker, Governor

Illinois Public Health Community Map

What is Primary Care?

Primary care should be the first place of entry into the health care system. Primary care provides a comprehensive array of health services including diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic diseases, disease prevention, health maintenance and health education. As the focal point of the health care system, primary care should be accessible, promote relationships between patients and providers, and coordinate care for patients who need other specialized health services such as specialty care, mental health, dental care, hospital or emergency care.  The World Health Organization advocates the following vision of primary care (1):

"Primary care brings promotion and prevention, cure and care together in a safe, effective and socially productive way at the interface between the population and the health system. The features of health care that are essential in ensuring improved health and social outcomes are person-centeredness, comprehensiveness and integration, and continuity of care, with a regular point of entry into the health system, so that it becomes possible to build an enduring relationship of trust between people and their health care providers."