A primary care provider (PCP) is the medical professional you turn to for general health questions and routine checkups. This health expert is also there for you when you have symptoms that don’t require a trip to the local emergency room.
Don’t have a PCP? Here are several ways primary care can change your life.
You have access to a provider who understands your needs
Once you establish a relationship with your PCP, you won’t feel as if you’re trusting your health concerns to a stranger. A PCP will get to know your medical history and preferences. This feeling of security takes some of the worry out of a medical appointment.
You can find reliable specialist suggestions
PCPs are skilled in various areas, but sometimes you’ll need a specialist to address a certain health condition. 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 PCP can refer you to another trusted medical expert. This will save you time and stress.
You can keep up with preventive care
Preventive care includes services such as vaccines, pap smears and colon cancer screenings. These tests help your PCP 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 PCP 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 PCPs are practicing have patients that need fewer ER visits, surgeries, outpatient visits and hospital admissions. Some even show that having access to PCPs can increase your life expectancy.
By keeping up with annual exams and preventive screenings, you decrease the odds of getting caught off-guard by illnesses. A PCP can also offer advice on how to improve your current health, such as diet and exercise tips.
You can save money
A PCP can be good news for your bank account. By identifying health concerns early, you’ll save money. That’s because you’re less likely to need expensive surgeries and trips to the ER. The overall cost of your health care decreases when you see your PCP regularly.
How can I find the right PCP for me?
Finding a PCP might seem like a chore, but the benefits are well worth it. Start by asking neighbors, friends and family members for suggestions. Keep your own preferences and health needs in mind. Just because your sibling is happy with their PCP doesn’t mean the doctor will be a good fit for you as well.
A little online research can also guide you toward the right PCP. At Mercy Health, we have great online resources to connect you with the right PCP. Visit Mercy.com to learn more.