Do You Really Need a Primary Care Physician?
(DENVER, CO) If staying active and living a long, healthy life is a part of your plan, then establishing a relationship with a primary care physician (PCP), also known as a family or internal medicine doctor, puts you at an advantage. However, the percentage of people taking advantage of PCP’s is waning and it’s pushing up the cost of health care for everyone.
A 2017 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, showed that 33 percent of millennials do not have a regular doctor, compared with 15 percent of those age 50 to 64. While weakening demand and fewer available PCPs are both contributing to this trend, the advantages of having a PCP should encourage more people to seek a primary care doctor.
“With a primary care doctor following you throughout your life, you build a relationship that encourages open dialogue. Your doctor learns your medical history, your families’ medical history, and your unique approach in handling health issues,” explained Dr. Patricia Howell, the Chief Medical Officer for Porter Adventist Hospital.
Consider an individual with frequent chest pain seeking medical attention for each occurrence. Every new doctor or emergency room nurse is going to do a full and potentially unnecessary battery of tests to determine the cause. On the other hand, a PCP would know that person’s health history and if prior tests or symptoms rule out certain causes of chest pain.
“A PCP’s first-hand knowledge of a patient can lead to a quicker and more accurate diagnoses, and less cost money,” added Dr. Howell. “If you end up needing to see a specialist, your PCP coordinates the care between all your specialists and can still manage all other day-to-day needs of your general health.”
While a PCP performs annual check-ups, they also help manage chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis. When appropriate, they can help in locating a specialist or help manage the health instructions that multiple specialists may be making that are involved in care.
Finally, according to a study from the American Academy of Family Physician’s, patients of physicians who provided a wide range of services, such as a PCP, experienced fewer hospitalizations and incurred lower overall health care costs.
To find a primary care physician start with your insurance to see which PCPs are within your health insurance network. To find a Centura Health primary care physician, visit Centura Health Primary Care. With hundreds of doctors to choose from, finding the right person to be your whole person, health care partner is now easier than ever.
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