Effective primary health care serves as the foundation for individual and community health over the lifespan. Strong primary health care makes health systems more responsive and resilient and is the foundation for universal health coverage.

However, primary health care in many countries is under-prioritized and of inadequate quality. Nations, donors and non-profit initiatives have focused on treating specific diseases rather than supporting integrated primary health care systems. As a result, health systems are often fragmented, ineffective, inefficient and unable to provide patients the comprehensive, coordinated care possible in a robust primary health care system.

At Ariadne Labs, we are building the field of primary care research in order to develop strategies to improve systems around the world. We aim to strengthen the five key functions of primary health care:

  • Serve as the first point of contact for individuals and families when they need care
  • Provide continuity in care built on a long-term relationship between a patient and a clinician who knows you over your lifetime and understands your needs
  • Address a comprehensive range of needs, from prenatal care to childhood vaccines to chronic disease management, and treat the whole person, not just a condition.
  • Coordinate patient care with other specialists or health care providers
  • Is patient-centered and holistic, building trusting, healing relationships through strong communication.
Our Projects

With a combined clinical and population approach, the Ariadne Labs primary health care approach integrates the tools of policy, finance, epidemiology, anthropology, clinical medicine and nursing. Alongside our research, we are working at the country and global levels to influence the delivery of frontline primary health care services to produce better health outcomes for patients. Our work focuses on four areas:

  • Building a clear global dialogue on the definition and potential of primary health care
  • Identifying and testing new and better measurement of primary health system gaps and progress
  • Charting pathways of primary health care system development to inform improvement efforts
  • Intervening around critical primary health care functions to strengthen service delivery and patient experience

Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI)
Patient and facility survey in Ghana
The China Health Study and Eight Tenets of Primary Health Care
Global learning collaboratives
Documenting primary health care success in Costa Rica
Improving Care for High-Risk Patients in Estonia