89% of Americans value their relationships with primary care doctors

Doctor with patient
Some 89% of Americans value a relationship with a primary care doctor.

In a national survey, 89% of Americans said it’s important to have a relationship with a physician who knows their health background and family and medical history.

The poll, conducted on behalf of the Health is Primary campaign from Family Medicine for America’s Health (FMAHealth), found strong support for primary care. The survey found 86% of Americans agreed that primary care leads to healthier patients, higher quality healthcare and lower costs—the so-called Triple Aim of healthcare.

The poll of about 22,800 registered voters was conducted online from February to April and also found the following:

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  • 88% said it's important to ensure coverage for preventive and wellness care to keep patients healthy
  • 91% said it's important that healthcare is affordable
  • 85% said physicians should be paid based on the value of the care they provide and not on the number of procedures they perform
  • 88% said it should be a priority of the country to ensure access to family and primary care physicians

Despite those statistics, many Americans do not have a primary care doctor. A government survey earlier this year found that 28% of men and 17% of women don’t have a personal doctor or healthcare provider, with the problem worse among minorities.

Eight national family medicine organizations, including the American Academy of Family Medicine, created FMAHealth in 2013. Its campaign called Health is Primary has organized the survey data into a tool that breaks down results by states and congressional districts. 

"A recent Oregon study showed that for every $1 invested in primary care, $13 in downstream costs were saved. We hope this tool will help us show that there is broad national support to invest in the nation's primary care infrastructure,” said FMAHealth Board Chair Glen Stream, M.D., former AAFP president, said in an announcement.

RELATED: Physician shortage could hit 100K by 2030

Despite the value Americans place on primary care, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the country will face a shortfall of between 7,300 and 43,100 primary care physicians by 2030. The overall physician shortage is projected at between 40,800 and 104,900 doctors by 2030.

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