A strong primary care system can help prevent illness, manage patient care across multiple providers, and reduce health care costs. Essential to such a system is effective communication. To address patients’ needs, primary care physicians often must communicate and exchange information with specialists, hospitals and other care settings, social service providers — and, of course, the patients themselves.

The Commonwealth Fund surveyed more than 13,000 primary care providers in 11 high-income countries — Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States — to compare their experiences providing extended access to patients through home visits or after-hours care, coordinating care among different providers, and using health information technology. The results of the survey, conducted January to June 2019, are published in the January 2020 issue of Health Affairs.