Primary care (PC) is an essential building block for any high quality healthcare system, and has a particularly positive impact on vulnerable patients. It contributes to the overall performance of health systems, and countries that reorient their health system towards PC are better prepared to achieve universal health coverage. Monitoring the actual performance of PC in health systems is essential health policy to support PC. However, current indicators are often too narrowly defined to account for quality of care in the complex populations with which PC deals. This article reviews a number of conceptual frameworks developed to capture PC values in robust measures and indicators that can inform policy and practice performance. Each have benefits and limitations. Further work is needed to develop meaningful primary health care (PHC) and PC measures to inform strategic action by policymakers and governments for improved overall performance of health systems.