Table 3.

Key Attributes of Family Physicians

A deep understanding of the dynamics of the whole personThis approach leads family physicians to consider all the influences on a person’s health. It helps to integrate rather than fragment care, involving people in the prevention of illness and the care of their problems, diseases, and injuries
A generative impact on patients’ livesThis terminology comes from Erik Erikson’s work on personality development. Family physicians participate in the birth, growth, and death of their patients and want to make a difference in their lives. While providing services that prevent or treat disease, family physicians foster personal growth in individuals and help with behavior change that may lead to better health and a greater sense of well-being
A talent for humanizing the health care experienceThe intimate relationships family physicians develop with many of their patients over time enable family physicians to connect with people. This ability to connect in a human way with patients allows family physicians to explain complex medical issues in ways that their patients can understand. Family physicians take into account the culture and values of their patients, while helping them get the best care possible
A natural command of complexityFamily physicians are comfortable with uncertainty and complexity. They are trained to be inclusive, to consider all the factors that lead to health and well-being—not just pills and procedures
A commitment to multidimensional accessibilityFamily physicians are not only physically accessible to patients and their families and friends, they are also able to maintain open, honest and sharing communications with all who are involved in the care process