Primary care is valuable to individuals in at least the five ways listed below:
These key components of high quality and efficient health care for individuals are illustrated in vignettes throughout this section of the chapter.1 Reflecting the nature of primary care, the vignettes include situations in which a variety of seemingly routine or simple problems may be embedded in the possibility of a patient's having conditions that could have serious consequences for his or her health. They illustrate the need for excellent primary care training that underlies clinicians' ability to distinguish among simple, serious, and complex conditions and to provide care for all.
Most of the problems that people bring to the health care system are appropriately resolved at the level of primary care. Having the capacity to address ''a large majority of personal health care needs" also means that primary care offers patients a sensible and convenient route to appropriate care, which may involve referrals or coordination of services by others; patients do not need to guess for themselves what is causing a symptom or concern to be able to enter the health care system at the right place.