The Future of Family Medicine 2.0

American Academy for Family Physicians

Family Medicine for America’s Health: The Future of Family Medicine 2.0


2014 Definition of a Family Physician

  • Family physicians are personal doctors for people of all ages and health conditions.
  • They are a reliable first contact for health concerns and directly address most health care needs.
  • Through enduring partnerships, family physicians help patients prevent, understand, and manage illness, navigate the health system and set health goals. Family physicians and their staff adapt their care to the unique needs of their patients and communities. They use data to monitor and manage their patient population, and use best science to prioritize services most likely to benefit health.
  • They are ideal leaders of health care systems and partners for public health.

Patient Expectations

Patients can expect that every Family Physician will: 

  • Give them the care they need when they are most vulnerable.
  • Care for them regardless of age and health conditions, and work to sustain an enduring and trusting relationship with them.
  • Be each patient’s first contact for health concerns. address all of their health concerns, and resolve most of them.
  • Help with preventing, understanding, and managing illness.
  • Navigate the health system with them, including coordinating with specialists and staying connected with patients before, during, and after time spent in a hospital.
  • Set health goals that adapt to each patient’s needs as defined by them.
  • With the care team, use data and best science to prioritize and coordinate services most likely to benefit their health.
  • Use technology to maintain and enhance access, continuity, and relationships, and to optimize patients’ care and outcomes.
  • Provide the right care, at the right time, at the right cost.
  • Ensure patients can be seen by their family physician or a member of the care team whenever they need to.
  • Assist patients with all of their healthcare needs.
  • Coordinate their care across settings; integrate care for acute and chronic illness, mental health and prevention; and guide access to specialist care when needed.
  • Organize care within the care team in order to meet their needs and provide continuity of care across time.
  • Use technology to maintain and enhance access, continuity, and relationships.
  • Understand the effects of the community-level factors and social determinants of health on their well-being, and identify community resources available to meet their health needs.
  • Care for them in the context of their family, and the ways in which the health of each family member impacts the others.
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Expectations of American Public

The American people can expect that Family Medicine will:

  • Family Medicine’s leadership will welcome collaboration with patients, employers, payers, policy makers, other primary care professionals, mental health providers, and public health to enhance the value and benefits of primary care, particularly the contribution that family physicians make, in meeting the health and healthcare needs of people throughout the United States.
  • Family medicine will work to ensure that every person in the United States understands the value of, and has the opportunity to have a personal relationship with, a trusted family physician, or other primary care professional, in the context of a medical home.
  • Family medicine will, in collaboration with our primary care partners, be accountable for increasing the value of primary care for the patients we serve; This means we will, using specific measures:
    • Lower the total cost of care for the patients we serve.
    • Continuously improve the health and quality of care of the patients we serve.
    • Continuously improve each patient’s experience of, and access to, care, emphasizing the patient’s definition of both.
  • Family medicine will collaborate with national stakeholders to reduce health disparities in the United States.
  • Family medicine will lead, through ongoing outcomes-based research, the continued evolution of the Patient Centered Medical Home to ensure it is the best way to deliver comprehensive, patient-centered care to the patients, families, and the communities we serve.
  • Family medicine will work to ensure that the country has the well-trained primary care workforce it needs for the future through expansion and transformation of training from pipeline through practice.

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