7 Reasons You Need a Primary Care Physician
Some people think of primary care as a bit ambiguous or unclear. It is one of the harder medical specialties to easily define because primary care encompasses so many different areas of our health!
Consider it this way: Your primary care doctor is a well-rounded healthcare expert whose specialty is approaching your health comprehensively. Primary care doctors are full of healthcare knowledge and trained in a variety of specialties. Their biggest responsibility is to take all of the information about your health and use it to create a game plan to keep you well over the course of your lifetime.
Primary care allows you to make one appointment where you can discuss a variety of health issues, whether they are physical, emotional or mental. You can talk about everything from your weight and diet to changes or pain you may be experiencing anywhere in your body, to questions you may have about your family medical history. Your primary care physician is your go-to expert when it comes to general health questions, tests, vaccinations, prescription medications or referrals to specialists like dermatologists or psychiatrists. They will work with you on any acute and chronic illnesses because they will be familiar with your medical history.
Establishing a trusting relationship with your primary care physician is important when looking for consistent and efficient care. Here are seven reasons why you should build a relationship with a primary care doctor.
It’s nice to know and trust your doctor.
Most people aren’t interested in talking to a complete stranger about their personal health concerns or needs. These issues are private and can be sensitive or difficult to talk about with a new healthcare provider. The more you visit with a doctor you trust, the more you will build a relationship with him or her. This will also help them better understand how your body works.
Communication is easier.
Discussing your health wants, needs and concerns with your primary care doctor is crucial to ensuring your health is being properly addressed. Your doctor should feel comfortable having honest conversations with you and sharing their concerns and thoughts about your health.
When was your last primary care exam? If it's been over a year, let's get your health back on track.
They help you create a routine.
Routine screenings are extremely important when it comes to your health. Undergoing testing with your primary care doctor on a regular basis can catch symptoms before they get worse and before a specialist is needed. Your primary care doctor also knows you well enough to ask the right questions and detect other health issues in their early stages.
They can improve your daily life.
A primary care provider is responsible for screening all major health-related conditions. If you already have a chronic condition, your primary care provider helps manage it to improve your quality of life.
They can help manage chronic health issues properly.
Chronic health conditions like asthma or arthritis can be challenging to monitor by yourself. Your primary care doctor can help you stay organized and aware of how your chronic disease is affecting your body through regular visits and routine testing.
They will refer you to the right specialist.
After getting to know your primary care doctor, they will be helpful in recommending specialists that not only provide the best care but fit with your personality. Because they are familiar with your communication preferences, your primary care doctor will know how to match you with another provider in a comfortable way.
Regular primary care visits can lower overall health costs.
Attending regular appointments with your primary doctor might seem like a waste of money, but research from the Journal of Health Affairs suggests that routine appointments with a primary care doctor cut overall health costs for patients. Regular screenings, open communication between you and your doctor and a record of your health history all contribute to an overall lower cost of healthcare.
Routine visits to your primary care physician are recommended to keep you healthy and up to date on necessary screenings. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, now is the time to find one!
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 6, 2018.