You Really Need A Primary Care Physician
You may often hear people refer to primary care physicians as a PCP or primary care doctor. Typically Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, General Medicine and Pediatric doctors are considered primary care physicians. He or she can assess and treat a wide range of conditions, from colds and respiratory infections to mental health concerns and chronic conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure. He or she will refer patients with more serious or specialized conditions to specialists or other healthcare facilities for more specific care.
One of the paramount differences of a primary care physician from most other specialties is that they focus on continuity of care based on strong relationships with patients; the doctor knows the patient well enough to make informed decisions about care, the patient feels comfortable enough to ask questions and the doctor is a personal patient advocate. Over the long term, a provider who knows your health history, your habits, and your personality can more easily recognize signs that indicate a potential change in your health and can provide a more individualized care plan.
With a systematic literature search in the Medline and Cochrane databases there is evidence that increased accessibility to physicians working in primary care contributes to better health and lower total costs in the health care system. The support to the answer “Yes, you do” need a primary physician comes from studies that show primary care helps keep you healthier as you age and decreases death. One study in International Journal of Health Services demonstrated that states with more primary care physicians per capita have better health outcomes, including fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease, or stroke. Other studies have outcomes that correlates patients associated with primary care physicians with decreased ED visits, lower cost of health care and a longer life span–if you add more primary care physicians to a community, the result is fewer premature deaths.
Regular Visits are Important with Your Primary Care Physician
It's important for both men and women to develop and maintain a relationship with a primary care physician who has a comprehensive view of your general health status, your medicines and habits, knows your family history and can help you make informed decisions about your care.
The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" holds true with your primary care physician. By finding, diagnosing, treating problems early and with prevention strategies, you can live a much healthier and longer life. Your doctor can review your current health and helps set up a plan for keeping what you got and improving it, by creating diet and exercise goals, offering services like cancer screenings, check-ups, and patient counseling that are used to prevent illnesses, disease, and other health problems, or to detect illness at an early stage when treatment is likely to work best.
How to Choose the Right Primary Care Physician for You
Sometimes the best way to find a good primary care physician is to ask someone you know, like a family member, co-worker or friend. You can also ask other healthcare professionals with whom you have a relationship, like a women’s primary care physician, a pharmacist, or even your dentist for a recommendation. If you are new to an area and do not have a network of friends in the community, find a hospital with an excellent reputation and visit its website or call its physician referral line to get the names of some physicians who may be associated there.
I would encourage you to meet the primary care physician to gauge your comfort level. Nothing can really give you a feel for whether you’ve selected the right doctor like an office visit and a face-to-face meeting. Be sure you feel comfortable in the office and with the physician, other care providers and staff. Talk with him or her about any current medications you are taking and your medical history to be sure you are on the same page when it comes to managing any chronic conditions. Look for a doctor that listens to your opinions and concerns, treats you with respect, encourages you to ask question and explains things in ways you can understand. Having good communication and collaboration with the doctor who oversees your care can help make sure you get the best-individualized care.
Having a primary care physician and maintaining a relationship with them is a key component to your health.
If you have problems, questions or concerns please contact me - Dr Thomas.