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Defining the Concept of Primary Care in South Korea Using a Delphi Method

Jae Ho Lee; Yong-Jun Choi; Robert J. Volk; Soo Young Kim; Yong Sik Kim; Hoon Ki Park; Tae-Hee Jeon; Seung Kwon Hong; Stephen J. Spann

Backgrounds and Objectives: There is no consensus on the definition of primary care in South Korea. This study's objective was to define the concept of primary care using a Delphi method.

METHODS: Three expert panels were formed, consisting of 16 primary care policy researchers, 45 stakeholders, and 16 primary care physicians. Three rounds of voting, using 9-point appropriateness scales, were conducted. The first round involved rating the appropriateness of 20 previously established attributes of primary care. In round 2, panelists received a summary of the first-round results and were asked to once again vote on the 10 undetermined attributes and the provisional definition. The final round involved voting on the appropriateness of the revised definition. The Korean Language Society reviewed the revised definition.

RESULTS: Four core (first-contact care, comprehensiveness, coordination, and longitudinality) and three ancillary (personalized care, family and community context, and community base) attributes were selected. The Korean definition of primary care was accomplished with all three panel groups arriving at a "very good" level of consensus.

CONCLUSIONS: The Korean definition of primary care will provide a framework for evaluating performance of primary care in South Korea. It will also contribute to resolving confusion about the concept of primary care.


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