In Their Words: Consumers’ Vision for a Person-Centered Primary Care System

The Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation commissioned focus groups to understand
consumer experience with and attitudes about primary care, and the intersection between the primary care
relationship and social determinants of health. This work focuses on consumers who are often marginalized:
people who are low-income, who have disabilities, who come from communities of color, whose primary
language is not English, who are elderly, and/or who have complex health needs.

OpinonWorks of Annapolis, MD, conducted the research through a battery of nine consumer focus groups in four states across the country during August and September 2019. We sought to create a trusting environment in the focus groups where these consumers could tell their stories, expressing both their anxieties and frustrations, as well as their hopes and aspirations for the primary care relationship and the broader health care system. Ultimately, we wanted to understand what kind of a system they believed would serve them better, helping address not just their immediate medical situation, but the underlying social and economic factors that affect their health.

The report presents five aspirations that emerged from the focus groups, amplified with quotes from the group participants. Those aspriations include: An Enduring and Mutually Respectful Relationship with the Primary Care Provider; Access to a Navigator; and the desire that their providers exhibit Cultural Sensitivity and the
Ability to Relate to One’s Life Experience.

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