Evidence-informed strategies for improving primary health care

The Improvement Strategies are an interactive knowledge management tool. Each strategy guides users through the selection of evidence-informed improvement options based on the country’s current primary health care capacities. The strategies can be used with the PHC Vital Signs Profile to identify gaps in a country’s PHC system and select relevant opportunities for improvement. Each Improvement Strategies module below addresses a different topic relevant to strong primary health care systems and includes an evidence review, case studies, key questions, and infographics to help users identify appropriate strategies. Users can also submit their own experiences, resources, and best practices to facilitate peer-to-peer learning.

Find Improvement Strategies for:

Governance and Leadership System

Governance and leadership includes “ensuring strategic policy frameworks exist and are combined with effective oversight, coalition-building, regulation, attention to system-design, and accountability” (WHO). This strategy includes PHC Policies, Quality Management Infrastructure, and Social Accountability.

Adjustment to Population Health Needs System

Adjustment to population health needs includes routine collection of information about population health status and needs, appropriate analysis and use of this information to set and implement priorities, and continual learning and adaptation based on emerging evidence and data.

Drugs and Supplies Inputs

Drugs and supplies are essential elements of all functioning health systems. Making sure facilities have the right drugs and supplies at the right time and that patients can access affordable products when needed is imperative to delivering high-quality primary health care.

Facility Infrastructure Inputs

Ensuring that all populations have timely, geographic access to care requires sufficient facility infrastructure. Facility infrastructure captures the physical availability and physical quality of facilities, including facility density and distribution, facility design, facility amenities, and safety equipment and precautions.

Information Systems Inputs

Information systems refers to systems used for collecting, processing, storing, and transferring data and information that is used for planning, managing, and delivering high-quality health services. Well-functioning health information systems yield high-quality and comprehensive data and information.

Workforce Inputs

A country’s ability to meet the goal of universal health coverage will require a competent, motivated, and equitably distributed primary health care (PHC) workforce capable of meeting existing and emerging community and population health needs.

Population Health Management Service Delivery

Effective primary health care systems integrate active outreach and engagement with their empaneled populations in care delivery. 

Facility Organization and Management Service Delivery

Effectively run facilities should include multidisciplinary teams, routine collection and use of information systems, and the capabilities of managers to oversee, support, and enforce processes. 

Access Service Delivery

Primary heath care services should be financially and geographically accessible at convenient times and with minimal waiting times. 

Availability of Effective Primary Health Care Services Service Delivery

Availability of effective PHC services includes the presence of competent, motivated providers at a health facility or in a community when patients seek care.

High-Quality PHC Service Delivery

High-quality primary health care systems consistently deliver services that are trusted and valued by the people they serve and improve health outcomes for all. High-quality primary health care fulfills five essential functions: first contact accessibility, continuity, comprehensiveness, coordination, and person-centeredness.

Featured case studies:

Population Health Management Ghana

The Community Health Planning and Strategy (CHPS) program began as a pilot in 1994 and has since been scaled across Ghana, increasing access to community-based primary health care services.

Facility Organization and Management Ethiopia

Ethiopia has implemented a series of reforms over the last several decades intended to improve service delivery and specifically improve care through stronger hospital management practices.

Access Mongolia

The Health Sector Development Program started in 1997 has supported various geographic and financial reforms that have worked to improve access to quality primary health care in both rural and urban areas.