Judging from healthcare advertisements on the Internet, television, and radio, specialists rule the roost as healthcare providers in the U.S. healthcare system. From orthopedic surgeons to cancer centers to ophthalmologists, it’s hard to avoid the onslaught of advertising for specialist care. In the U.S., primary care is not featured nearly as prominently in advertising or the media.
But, increasing primary care access is seen as essential to improving population health. Effective primary care can help reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations. However, in most U.S. states, primary care spending represents 5%-7% of total healthcare expenditures, which is less than half of the 14% average in Western European countries.