Primary healthcare provides a unique opportunity for clinical research at the population level, in the real world, focused on the promotion of health and primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of the chronic illnesses that are most common and which have the most effect on health, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases and mental disorders. The research groups in this area design and evaluate innovative interventions to address the main determinants of health, including lifestyle (nutrition, physical activity, smoking, alcohol use) and other risk factors associated with these illnesses (hypertension, dyslipidaemia, diabetes, obesity, stress).
This fully complements work in the main research areas, which are organised by disease. Beyond the physiopathological processes underlying illness, primary care researchers focus on how to improve the quality of life of patients, their adaptive capacity, their self-care ability, and in such cases, the quality of their death.
Rather than investigating particular diseases, primary care research analyses people, who increasingly have multiple health problems. Unlike the traditional biomedical approach, primary care professionals consider the bio-psycho-social model of care and new models for integrated and community care. This area also provides unique opportunities for pharmacoepidemiological studies in the real word and promotion of the rational use of medicines.