Advertisement

Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 97, Issue 5, pp 409–411 | Cite as

Primary Care (PC) and Primary Health Care (PHC)

What is the Difference?
  • Laura K. MuldoonEmail author
  • William E. Hogg
  • Miriam Levitt
Commentary
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Primary Care and Primary Health Care are very similar terms which are often employed interchangeably, but which are also used to denote quite different concepts. Much time and energy is spent discussing which term is the appropriate one for a particular application. There is a growing recognition internationally that the two terms describe two quite distinct entities. Recent Canadian uses of the two terms are, for the most part, consistent with the international uses. Primary Care, the shorter term, describes a narrower concept of “family doctor-type” services delivered to individuals. Primary Health Care is a broader term which derives from core principles articulated by the World Health Organization and which describes an approach to health policy and service provision that includes both services delivered to individuals (Primary Care services) and populationlevel “public health-type” functions.

MeSH terms

Primary care primary health care primary healthcare 

Résumé

« Soins primaires » et « soins de santé primaires » sont des expressions très semblables que l’on emploie souvent de façon interchangeable, mais qui peuvent aussi désigner des notions assez différentes. On consacre parfois beaucoup de temps et d’énergie à discuter de l’expression appropriée dans tel ou tel contexte. Partout dans le monde, on commence à reconnaître qu’elles décrivent deux entités bien distinctes. Les emplois récents de ces deux expressions au Canada sont, pour la plupart, conformes à leurs emplois ailleurs dans le monde. La plus courte des deux, « soins primaires », a un sens restreint et désigne les services comme ceux fournis par les médecins de famille à des particuliers. L’expression « soins de santé primaires » a un sens plus large qui découle des principes de base énoncés par l’Organisation mondiale de la santé; elle désigne une approche des politiques sanitaires et de la prestation de services qui englobe à la fois les services aux particuliers (les services de soins de première ligne) et les fonctions de « santé publique » qui s’adressent à des populations entières.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    World Health Organization. Health systems: Principled integrated care. In: World Health Report 2003. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2003, Chapter 7. Available online at: https://doi.org/www.who.int/whr/2003/en/ (Accessed February 15, 2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Awofeso N. What is the difference between “primary care” and “primary healthcare”? Quality in Primary Care 2004;12:93–94.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    World Health Organization. Declaration of Alma-Ata. International Conference on Primary Health Care, Alma-Ata, USSR, 6–12 September, 1978. Available online at: https://doi.org/www.who.int/hpr/NPH/docs/declaration_almaata.pdf (Accessed February 15, 2006).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ontario Health Services Restructuring Commission. Primary Health Care Strategy. Advice and Recommendations to Hon. Elizabeth Witmer, Minister of Health, December, 1999. Available online at: https://doi.org/www.health.gov.on.ca/hsrc/phase2/rr_phc_final.doc (Accessed January 5, 2005).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Romanow RJ. Building on Values: The Future of Health Care in Canada. Saskatoon, SK: Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, 2002. Available online at: https://doi.org/www.health-carecommission.ca (Accessed January 5, 2005).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lamarche PA, Beaulieu M-D, Pineault R, Contandriopoulos A-P, Denis J-L, Haggerty J. Choices for Change: The Path for Restructuring Primary Healthcare Services in Canada. Report submitted to the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, New Brunswick Department of Health and Wellness, Saskatchewan Department of Health, Ministère de la santé et des services sociaux du Québec, Health Canada, 2003. Available online at: https://doi.org/www.chsrf.ca/final_research/commis-sioned_research/policy_synthesis/pdf/choices_ for_change_e.pdf (Accessed August 14, 2006).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Health Canada. Health Care System. About Primary Health Care. Available online at: https://doi.org/www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/prim/about-apropos/index_e.html#1 (Accessed February 15, 2006).
  8. 8.
    Molla S, Donaldson K, Yordy D, Lohr KN, Vanselow NA (Eds.). Primary Care: America’s Health in a New Era. Report of a Study by a Committee of the Institute of Medicine, Division of Health Care Services. National Academy Press, 1996; 395 pp.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Starfield B. Primary Care: Balancing Health Needs, Services and Technology, 2nd Ed. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998;8–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura K. Muldoon
    • 1
    Email author
  • William E. Hogg
    • 2
    • 3
  • Miriam Levitt
    • 4
  1. 1.Elisabeth Bruyère Research InstituteSomerset West Community Health CentreOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.The C.T. Lamont Primary Health Care Research CentreÉlisabeth Bruyère Research InstituteCanada
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and Community MedicineUniversity of OttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations