How Primary Healthcare Sector is Organized at the Territorial Level in France? A Typology of Territorial Structuring

Document Type : Original Article


1 Research Center in Epidemiology and Population Health, Primary Care and Prevention Team, Inserm U1018, Université Paris-Saclay, UVSQ, Villejuif, France

2 Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Public Health, Raymond Poincaré Hospital, GHU Université Paris-Saclay, AP-HP, Garches, France


Most the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries are currently facing the challenges of the health transition, the aging of their populations and the increase in chronic diseases. Effective and comprehensive primary healthcare (PHC) services are considered essential for establishing an equitable, and costeffective healthcare system. Developing care coordination and, on a broader scale, care integration, is a guarantee of quality healthcare delivery. The development of healthcare systems at the meso-level supports this ambition and results in a process of territorial structuring of PHC. In France, the Health Territorial and Professional Communities (HTPC) constitute meso-level organizations in which healthcare professionals (HCPs) from the same territory gather. We conducted a study to determine, in a qualitative step, the key elements of the territorial structuring of PHC in France and, then, to develop, in a quantitative step, a typology of this structuring.
A sequential-exploratory mixed-method study with a qualitative step using a multiple case approach and a quantitative step as a hierarchical clustering on principal components (HCPC) from a multiple correspondence analysis (MCA).
A total of 7 territories were qualitatively explored. Territorial structuring appears to depend on: past collaborations at the micro-level, meso-level coordination among HCPs and multiprofessional structures, diversity of independent professionals, demographic dynamics attracting young professionals, and public health investment through local health contracts (LHCs). The typology identifies 4 clusters of mainland French territories based on their level of structuring: under or unstructured (38.6%), with potential for structuring (34.7%), in the way for structuring (25.3%) and already structured territories (1.4%).
Interest in territorial structuring aligns with challenges in meso-level healthcare organization and the need for integrated care. Typologies of territorial structuring should be used to understand its impact on access, care quality, and medical resources.


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Articles in Press, Corrected Proof
Available Online from 08 May 2024
  • Receive Date: 03 August 2023
  • Revise Date: 24 March 2024
  • Accept Date: 07 May 2024
  • First Publish Date: 08 May 2024