Core principles to improve primary care quality management

Justin Mutter, Winston Liaw, Miranda Moore, Rebecca Etz, Amanda Howe, Andrew Bazemore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Quality management in American health care is in crisis. Performance measurement in its current form is costly, redundant, and labyrinthine. Increasingly, its contribution to achieving the Quadruple Aim is under close examination, especially in the domain of primary care services, where the burden of measurement is heaviest. This article assesses the state of quality management in primary care in the United States, particularly the 2015 Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, in comparative perspective, drawing lessons from the Quality and Outcomes Framework in the United Kingdom. The health care delivery function specific to primary care is pivotal to crossing the quality chasm, yet prior efforts to improve the quality of this function have failed more often than succeeded. These failures are the result of quality programs unguided by core principles of primary care. Quality management in primary care requires a more disciplined approach, adherent to 4 foundational principles: optimizing holistic patient and population health; harnessing the Quadruple Aim as a dynamic whole; applying measurements as tools for quality, not outcomes of quality; and prioritizing therapeutic relationships. These principles serve as the foundation for a bridge to high-functioning primary care that will lead American health care closer to the Quadruple Aim.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-940
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date12 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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