Primary Care Networks and Starfield's 4Cs: A Case for Enhanced Chronic Disease Management.


The primary care network (PCN) was implemented as a healthcare delivery model which organises private general practitioners (GPs) into groups and furnished with a certain level of resources for chronic disease management. A secondary qualitative analysis was conducted with data from an earlier study exploring facilitators and barriers GPs enrolled in PCN's face in chronic disease management. The objective of this study is to map features of PCN to Starfield's "4Cs" framework. The "4Cs" of primary care-comprehensiveness, first contact access, coordination and continuity-offer high-quality design options for chronic disease management. Interview transcripts of GPs (n = 30) from the original study were purposefully selected. Provision of ancillary services, manpower, a chronic disease registry and extended operating hours of GP practices demonstrated PCN's empowering features that fulfil the "4Cs". On the contrary, operational challenges such as the lack of an integrated electronic medical record and disproportionate GP payment structures limit PCNs from maximising the "4Cs". However, the enabling features mentioned above outweighs the shortfalls in all important aspects of delivering optimal chronic disease care. Therefore, even though PCN is in its early stage of development, it has shown to be well poised to steer GPs towards enhanced chronic disease management.





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Publication Info

Foo, Chuan De, Shilpa Surendran, Geronimo Jimenez, John Pastor Ansah, David Bruce Matchar and Gerald Choon Huat Koh (2021). Primary Care Networks and Starfield's 4Cs: A Case for Enhanced Chronic Disease Management. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(6). pp. 1–14. 10.3390/ijerph18062926 Retrieved from

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David Bruce Matchar

Professor of Medicine

My research relates to clinical practice improvement - from the development of clinical policies to their implementation in real world clinical settings. Most recently my major content focus has been cerebrovascular disease. Other major clinical areas in which I work include the range of disabling neurological conditions, cardiovascular disease, and cancer prevention.
Notable features of my work are: (1) reliance on analytic strategies such as meta-analysis, simulation, decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis; (2) a balancing of methodological rigor the needs of medical professionals; and (3) dependence on interdisciplinary groups of experts.
This approach is best illustrated by the Stroke Prevention Patient Outcome Research Team (PORT), for which I served as principal investigator. Funded by the AHCPR, the PORT involved 35 investigators at 13 institutions. The Stroke PORT has been highly productive and has led to a stroke prevention project funded as a public/private partnership by the AHCPR and DuPont Pharma, the Managing Anticoagulation Services Trial (MAST). MAST is a practice improvement trial in 6 managed care organizations, focussing on optimizing anticoagulation for individuals with atrial fibrillation.
I serve as consultant in the general area of analytic strategies for clinical policy development, as well as for specific projects related to stroke (e.g., acute stroke treatment, management of atrial fibrillation, and use of carotid endarterectomy.) I have worked with AHCPR (now AHRQ), ACP, AHA, AAN, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NSA, WHO, and several pharmaceutical companies.
Key Words: clinical policy, disease management, stroke, decision analysis, clinical guidelines

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