Do I need a primary care physician? This is probably a question that comes to your mind every now and again.
The short answer is absolutely! Your primary care provider is at the front lines of your health care. This is the provider you’ll see for regular checkups and routine screenings. They are also typically the first provider to let you know if you have developed any health problems.
Overall, choosing a primary care doctor and seeing them on a regular basis can help you live a longer, healthier life.
Establishing a relationship with your primary care provider allows them to become familiar with your health history and what is normal for your body. Additionally, if your primary care provider practices family medicine, they can offer comprehensive care for your entire family, providing a centralized location for all your medical needs.
Here are some important benefits to consider.
You’ll have access to a provider who understands your needs.
Once you establish a relationship with your primary care provider, you won’t feel as if you’re trusting your health concerns to a stranger. They will get to know your medical history and preferences. They can also help you navigate managing any ongoing health issues, such as high blood pressure.
This feeling of security takes some of the worry out of a medical appointment. Knowing that a provider is invested in and knowledgeable about you as well as your overall health can bring you peace of mind.
You’ll be able to find reliable specialist suggestions.
Primary care physicians are skilled in various areas, but sometimes you’ll need a specialist to address certain health issues. For example, you might need an orthopedic specialist to address ongoing joint pain, or an oncologist to offer cancer treatment options.
Rather than search for a specialist on your own, your primary care provider can help you find a doctor. This will save you time and stress.
You’ll keep up with your preventive care.
Preventive care includes services, such as vaccines, pap smears and colon cancer screenings. These tests help your provider prevent or discover health conditions early before they start affecting you.
Depending on your age and health condition, you may need to keep up with a number of preventive care screenings. The best way to keep up with these appointments is to have a primary care physician who can serve as a guide and take note of any changes to your health.
You may benefit from more positive health outcomes.
Studies have shown that communities where more primary care physicians are practicing have patients that need fewer emergency room visits, surgeries, outpatient visits, hospital admissions and do a better job staying healthy. Some even show that having access to primary care can increase life expectancy.
By keeping up with annual exams and preventive screenings, you decrease the odds of getting caught off-guard by any chronic illnesses. A primary care doctor can also offer advice on how to improve your current health, such as diet and exercise tips.
You can save money.
A primary care provider can be good news for your bank account. Having a primary care provider may allow you to bypass expensive visits to urgent care or the emergency room for routine concerns. Additionally, early diagnosis and treatments can shorten the length of illnesses, decreasing overall spend and potential time away from work.
How can I find the right provider for me?
Finding a primary care physician might seem like a chore, but the benefits are well worth it.
Start by asking neighbors, friends or a family member for suggestions. Keep your own preferences and health needs in mind. For example, just because your sibling is happy with their primary care provider doesn’t mean the doctor will be a good fit for you as well. Also, be sure that they except your health insurance ahead of time.
Before you visit your primary care doctor, check out our tips on how to best prepare for your first appointment.
So, do I need a primary care physician? Of course you do! Everyone does!
Find a primary care provider near you and learn more about the primary care services we provide at Mercy Health.