I get it. You are young and healthy and never have any problems. Or, you do have medical issues, but have several specialists who provide your care. You are busy and don’t think you need to see a primary care doctor.
Let’s talk about why establishing with a primary care doctor is better for your health and what a primary care doctor can do for you.
- The key is continuity of care.
Continuity of care means that you establish a relationship with a primary care doctor and over time, through regular visits, with this one doctor, you and your health goals are learned. This regular, ongoing care is the basis for providing good, quality care.
In an increasingly complex medical world, having one doctor who knows your health history has become highly important.
Your primary care doctor can track your issues over time. Over the long term, a doctor who knows your health history, your habits and your personality can more easily recognize signs and symptoms that are a change in your health.
A primary care doctor’s goal is to deliver the care that’s right for you. Providing care that is specific to you is easier when you have a meaningful relationship with your doctor.
If your medical issue requires specialty care, a primary care doctor will help to sort out the best plan for referral. In this time in which insurance companies require referrals, the primary care doctor can help you navigate this process. He or she can then help you keep track of the referrals, the required follow up and the recommendations made by the specialist. This coordination can be valuable when you have several specialists managing chronic medical conditions.
- Saving time and money with acute illnesses.
Establishing with a primary care doctor can save you time. If you get sick, he or she can help you, usually in an efficient and time-saving manner.
Many acute illnesses are not emergent and do not need the heroic care of an Emergency Department. By visiting your primary care doctor in these times, you can save time and money.
Finally, if you come in for regular visits instead of only coming in when you’re sick, your primary care doctor can help educate you about your health and help prevent chronic illnesses down the line. Yearly annual exams can include preventive cancer screening, screening for chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and helping to manage stress and anxiety. Your doctor can also make recommendations on important vaccines to prevent infectious diseases such as the flu vaccine for influenza and vaccines for pneumococcal disease.
The Big Picture
A primary care doctor provides you with generalized medical care. He or she specializes in diagnosing, treating and preventing a wide variety of conditions. Your doctor can step back and look at the big picture, listen carefully with an open mind, consider all possibilities with your symptoms and then, through careful and thoughtful evaluation and testing, help determine a diagnosis and treatment and referral to a specialist if necessary. FBN
By Mary Porvaznik
Flagstaff Family Care serves Flagstaff and Sedona. For more information, call 928-526-4325 or visit us online at FlagFamiyCare.com.