primary health care

The term "primary health care" came into use to describe environmental health, preventative health, nutritional health, stress reduction and other factors key to immune response and happiness.

At primaryhealthcare.ca it is defined as "basic, everyday health care:..."
  • Treating acute and episodic illness
  • Preventing people from becoming ill or injured
  • Managing chronic conditions
  • Making the most effective use of health provider expertise
  • Efficiency and co-ordination
  • Access
  • Individuals playing an active role in their own health care
    • where environmental and nutritional and stress factors come in

The World Health Organization defines primary health care as essential health care “made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development in the spirit of self-reliance and self-determination. . . .. It is the first level of contact of individuals, the family and community with the national health system bringing health care as close as possible to where people live and work, and constitutes the first element of a continuing health care process.”

The Health Council of Canada identifies primary health care as one of the foundations of Canada's health care system. In attempting to provide a definition, it notes that primary health care “not only provides the entry point of contact for individuals with the health care system, but also serves as the vehicle for ensuring continuity of care across the system. Most definitions of primary health care also recognize health promotion, disease and injury prevention and the importance of placing stronger emphasis on the determinants of health and strategies to advance individual and population health. Through primary health care, short-term health issues are resolved and most chronic conditions are managed.”

Four Key Pillars

A rhetoric remniscent of the Four Pillars of the Green Party or Five Pillars of Islam or Five Pillars of Wikipedia is being exploited to define this as being a matter of government responsibility, not of individual action:


"The team approach is about the team of health care providers working together to improve the continuity of care, reduce duplication and ensure individuals have access to appropriate health professionals. Patients/clients are a part of the team, as well, and are involved in, and empowered to make, decisions about their own health."


"Primary health care is about improved sharing of information between health providers and expanded access to information for Canadians using the health system or seeking health advice. It’s about using tools like electronic health records and diagnostic instruments to improve the quality, access and co-ordination of health information."


"Primary health care is about access, and ensuring that Canadians have greater access to the right services when and where they are needed. It recognizes that Canadians need advice, information and care outside of regular office hours."

Healthy Living

"Healthy living encompasses prevention, the management of chronic illness, encouraging support for self-care and the idea that factors outside of the health system can influence individual and community health. It’s about keeping us well, rather than just treating us after we’ve become sick."