The American health industry is known for its heavy concentration of medical specialists. However, primary care physicians continue to serve as the backbone of the system. Everyone should have access to either a family medicine primary care provider or a primary care clinic in order to assure that they receive the medical attention they need.
Primary medical care personnel normally fall into three categories. Family care doctors and internists generally serve adults and pediatricians care for children. Besides medical doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are considered primary care providers. Physicians classified as specialists include cardiologists, neurologists, and psychiatrists.
Despite their importance, primary care personnel comprise less than half of the physician corps in the United States. What makes them important is the fact that the internist or primary care physician is often the first person to see a patient and render a diagnosis. They may then refer a patient to a specialist.
You may have asked yourself, “How do I get a primary care physician?” One good way is to ask relatives or others in your life. Online sources can also be used to locate local primary doctors.
Even if you take every possible step to stay healthy, a simple fact of life is that we all get sick. Any way you slice the numbers, people get sick anytime and anyplace. For instance, the average adult gets up to three colds a year and as much as 20% of the U.S. population comes down with the flu annually.
When illness hits you, you’re going to need to get seen by someone to feel better. You could visit an urgent care center, where you’ll get immediate care for your ills. Many Americans have the same idea as there were more than 15,000 patient visits to urgent care facilities in 2016 alone.
Another option is to visit your primary care physician. In fact, it’s a good idea to get in to see your primary care doctor at least once a year, even if you’re not sick. Why? Here are seven benefits to seeing your primary care physician:
- Better Comfort: Urgent care centers are great for dealing with quick illnesses, but if you’re dealing with a more sensitive medical issues, you may feel uncomfortable talking to an unfamiliar doctor. With your primary care doctor you’ve got a strong trust level and you can discuss whatever concerns you have. Dealing with your primary care doctor will make you feel better and likely give you a higher level of satisfaction with medical care.
- Chronic disease management: If you’re dealing with a chronic health condition like arthritis or diabetes, it can be very difficult to monitor those conditions by yourself. One of the benefits of visiting a primary care doctor is that they can help you stay organized with a treatment schedule and keep you informed about how your health condition may be affecting your body. By visiting a primary care physician regularly, you’ll be able to maintain any pain or difficulties that come with your condition.
- Medical history: If you’re dealing with an illness and you visit the ER or an urgent care center, the last thing you’re probably wanting to do is rehash your entire medical history with a stranger. With your primary care physician, you can feel comfortable talking about your medical history and he or she will have a good knowledge of what your medical history is.
- Preventative maintenance: One of the best benefits of seeing a primary care doctor is catching any serious health issues before they occur or in their infancy. You can have a routine screening that might catch a disease that’s in your family’s medical history or something else entirely.
- Less visits to the ER: Emergency rooms play an important role in medical care, but it’s unlikely many people like going to the ER to wait for hours before they’re seen. With primary care visits, you’ll be less likely to end up in the ER because you’ll be aware of medical issues you’ve got that are ongoing or could happen. This will keep you from ignoring symptoms and ending up in the ER when the situation is more serious.
- Holistic health: Whether you’re dealing with a lingering cough or mental health issues, it pays to see your primary care doctors. He or she will focus on holistic care, which means they’re trained to deal with a little bit of everything. Why is this important for you? It means that no matter what you’re dealing with, you can make one appointment to see a doctor whom you’ve got a good relationship with instead of having to go to a series of specialists.
- Cost effectiveness: Another benefit of primary care is that it’s easy on your pocket book. Regular appointments might seem boring, but in the long run it will save you money because you won’t be visiting urgent cares or the ER as often to deal with health surprises.
Whether you’re sick or not, a visit to a primary care physician can be one of the best decisions you make for your health. You’ll be able to deal with whatever medical issues you have or be able to cut off potential issues at the pass. Most importantly, you’ll be able to discuss any concerns you’ve got with a doctor you trust.