Saving time, money, and extending your lifespan are just a few reasons why having a primary care physician (PCP) is important. The focus of a primary care provider is to become an expert in YOU. They are the best defense a person has in preventing a wide variety of conditions and achieving the most optimal level of overall health.
WHAT IS PRIMARY CARE, AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Primary care consists of integrated health care services that general practitioners and their support teams provide to patients. Primary care extends beyond the physician-patient relationship and includes non-physician providers such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and administrative staff, all playing a part in the primary care ecosystem and each vital in creating a sustained partnership with patients.
Primary care is vital because it serves as a crucial means for preventative care, including early detection and treatment of disease. Patients who receive care from a physician familiar with their medical history are more likely to get preventive services such as flu shots, blood pressure screenings, and cancer screenings.
Individuals without a primary care doctor see a different physician each time they need health services. The risk that new and emerging health conditions may be missed rises when an individual sees multiple doctors.
In short, primary care provides patients with efficiency and consistency, which often results in improved long-term health.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN?
Primary care providers are a patient’s first line of defense against illness and disease. They manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, and depression.
When a patient’s care requires a medical expert in a specific field, a PCP can offer a referral. In addition, PCPs play a critical role in communicating with specialists and managing multiple treatments.
About 66% of U.S. adults take prescription drugs. Primary care doctors are in the best position to view and manage all of a patient’s medications and can help identify potentially harmful drug interactions. They have the opportunity and access to treat the entire person while considering an individual’s beliefs and preferences.
Primary care should always be a person’s first stop for care. Except for medical emergencies, check-ups, screenings, immunizations, and care for common illnesses should always be provided by a primary physician.
Relationships with a PCP can last decades, allowing them to become more knowledgeable about your health than anyone else. Their goal is to help support you in achieving the highest degree of health for as long as possible.
By partnering with a PCP, an individual will receive continuity of care and gain a health care partner familiar with the nuances of their particular medical history, thus enabling the highest level of care.
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT PRIMARY CARE PROVIDERS (PCPS)
People often have several misconceptions about primary care doctors. Here are a few common ones:
1. MYTH-Individuals only need to see a doctor when they are sick.
FACT-Regularly seeing a PCP helps spot emerging health issues, resulting in early intervention and better overall health.
2. MYTH-Family medicine providers prefer to refer patients with chronic health conditions to specialists instead of handling their care directly.
FACT-Family physicians often manage their patients’ chronic illnesses and only refer patients to specialists when the situation merits it.
3. MYTH-An Urgent care center will provide the same level of care and is much faster when booking an appointment.
FACT-Urgent care centers specialize in stabilizing urgent health issues until a patient can be seen by their primary care physician. Urgent care providers cannot provide the same level of meticulous care as a patient’s PCP since PCPs have the advantage of being familiar with a patient’s medical history.
4. MYTH-Getting an appointment to see a PCP takes weeks or months.
FACT-Many providers reserve appointment slots exclusively for established patients; therefore, having a relationship with a PCP will shorten the time it takes to secure an appointment.
BENEFITS OF HAVING A PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER
PCPs provide faster diagnoses. When patients see their primary care provider regularly, it enables their PCP to notice changes in health more readily, reducing the time it takes to render a diagnosis.
PCPs eliminate duplicative paperwork. Seeing the same physician will eliminate some of the administrative tasks associated with seeing a new doctor every time an individual needs health services. Tasks like filling out new patient paperwork, medical history, and insurance information are no longer required when an individual becomes an established patient.
PCPs, help patients save money. Having regular check-ups and visiting a PCP for preventative care reduces the need for costly emergency room and urgent care center visits.
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR?
If a person is without a primary care physician, a wellness check is a great way to start a relationship with a PCP.
For those wondering how to find and select a provider, below are a few options.
- Individuals who receive health insurance through their job can select a primary care doctor during their employer’s annual open enrollment period.
- Ask family, friends, and neighbors for the name of a nearby general practitioner that they trust.
- Use the internet to research healthcare providers, including patient reviews and ratings.
Researching your primary care provider options allows you to select someone who closely embodies the attributes you value most.
FIND A PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN-DENVER
Having a primary care physician is the cornerstone to maintaining your health. At Colorado Primary Health Care, we take patient care seriously, and our team works diligently to ensure every patient receives the personalized care they deserve.
Our goal is to give you a convenient solution for all your medical needs. We provide a wide range of medical treatments and services for people of all ages.