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Decisions Faced by Patients: Primary Care

Primary care is defined as the level of the healthcare system that provides individuals with (a) the gateway into the system for all their needs and problems; (b) care focused on the individual and his or her context (not disease-oriented); (c) care for all but very uncommon or unusual conditions; (d) continuity of care; and (e) the coordination or integration of the care provided by other levels of the system or by other professionals. Thus, primary care is defined by a series of functions which, in combination, are unique at this level. Countries with a strong primary care component have better health outcomes and are better at keeping costs under control.

In the United States, the ecology model of medical care reveals that on average ...

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