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The Family Medicine and Primary Care section is directed at scholarly work that has been generated in real life primary health care, such as prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of important health problems in the primary health care population, and functioning of our health care system.
Primary health care is an essential function in any health care system, as primary health care is a key determinant of populations’ and individuals’ health. Strengthening that essential function has an impact around the world, and this lends a special meaning to the mission of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care specialty section: to publish, critically appraise and disseminate science and research that matter for all patients and all populations.
This is the reason to direct, as part of the focus of Frontiers in Medicine, a specialty section at both the medical specialty in the community – family medicine – and the multidisciplinary collaboration in which family physicians operate: nurses, midwifes, physiotherapists, occupational health officers, community pharmacists, allied health professionals. This is the scientific community of primary health care and this is what constitutes the specialty section of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care. It should be seen as a deliberately all inclusive approach, which makes it possible to add new disciplines in the further development of the primary health care function in health care systems.
The specialty section on Family Medicine and Primary Health Care is directed at cutting-edge research on domains these professions share:
1. Primary health care deals with a large variety of important health problems in the community, in all organ systems, in all stages, in all patient groups. And always, patients’ individual experiences, their cognitions, worries, fears and values – the bio-psycho-social interrelatedness – will determine the outcome of care. An important feature is as well that a health problem seldom stands alone and most individuals and their health care professionals in primary health care have to deal with more than one (health) problem (multi-morbidity) at the same time.
2. In its approach to individuals and communities, primary health care capitalises on a number of shared values: person centeredness, population centeredness, continuity of care, generalistintegrated care based on a professional relation of trust, balancing the benefits and risks of medical technology – under-treatment and medicalization/over-treatment.
3. This characterises the professional performance in primary health care, which is directed at early diagnosis and an understanding of early stages of illness and disease and how signs and symptoms evolve. In this, prognosis, the possibility to predict the long-term impact, may often take precedence over diagnostic detail. Important methods are (i) the application of prior knowledge of patients and their social and family situation; (ii) review of patients and their illness and disease over time; (iii) timing of additional testing against the background of test reliability (false positive and negative test results). Prevention and patient education are often an integrated part of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
In its performance primary health care has to face vastly different circumstances: different populations with different social, cultural economic and health status; different health care systems with different resources and regulations. This is the actual context in which primary health care has to operate, and this is the actual context in which research has to make its contribution. This makes the external validity of research findings particularly important: the understanding that new knowledge will contribute under the prevailing conditions under which professionals in primary health care work.
Family Medicine and Primary Care specialty section is directed at scholarly work that has been generated in real life primary health care, on
• the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of important health problems in the primary health care population;
• the determinants of health of communities and populations;
• the mechanisms of how the values of primary health care influence the health of individuals and communities;
• the functioning of the health care system in promoting the best possible health and possibilities of improvement.
Indexed in: PubMed, PubMed Central (PMC), Scopus, DOAJ, CrossRef, CLOCKSS
PMCID: all published articles receive a PMCID
Family Medicine and Primary Care welcomes submissions of the following article types: Brief Research Report, Case Report, Clinical Trial, Community Case Study, Correction, Data Report, Editorial, General Commentary, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Opinion, Original Research, Perspective, Policy and Practice Reviews, Review, Specialty Grand Challenge, Study Protocol and Systematic Review.
All manuscripts must be submitted directly to the section Family Medicine and Primary Care, where they are peer-reviewed by the Associate and Review Editors of the specialty section.
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