How long have you been seeing the same doctor? One year? Five years? Longer? Not at all?
At Genesis Medical we strongly encourage our patients to work with one primary care physician, or PCP, as often as possible. It’s not just us, either; the medical community as a whole generally agrees that the longer patients can work with a single doctor, the better their health will be.
There’s plenty of research to support this practice, too; studies published in multiple medical journals (including one in the International Journal of Health Services) have confirmed that having a singular PCP will keep you healthier as you age – and will save you money on health care costs you would otherwise accumulate during hospital visits. Everyone – even the young, healthy and fit – should try to visit one PCP when possible, for three main reasons:
· PCP’s treat your entire well-being. Because medical specialists study to treat very specific health issues specialists can only evaluate certain parts of your health – which means that they can miss developing problems in one part of your body if the part they focus on is perfectly healthy. PCPs, on the other hand, undergo training for a range of things; the American Academy of Family Physicians states that all qualified PCPs receive training in:
o Care for chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease
o Ear, nose and throat care
o Emergency medical care
o Minor surgical procedures
o Mental and behavioral health care
o Bone and joint care
o Eye care
o Care of the urinary systems
o Women’s health care, reproductive counseling and family planning
Studying all of these health-related topics allows PCPs to recognize multiple facets of your individual health needs at once, from your physical to your emotional well-being. What does this mean for you? It means that visiting a PCP increases the chances of you receiving the correct diagnosis sooner for any health issues that may develop – and that’s what you want!
· Primary care physicians ensure that your healthcare is organized and coordinated. Visiting multiple doctors each time you feel sick can create serious problems down the line, especially if these doctors fail to share your medical records with each other; one missing piece of information could make all the difference in a major diagnosis. The good news is that working with a PCP gives you long-term supervision that can prevent problems later on; PCPs maintain your medical records, as well as share them with any specialists they may recommend, and coordinate your medications and medical needs with other doctors. This also helps patients move more quickly and smoothly through the medical system; with so many people competing for a doctors’ time throughout the healthcare system, this is definitely a major perk for you!
· A PCP’s entire job is to keep you healthy. PCP's do all that they do with one goal in mind: to keep you healthy. And ultimately, this is the #1 reason to see a doctor - not just to get treatment for current health issues, but to avoid other health issues down the line!
Finding and sticking with one PCP is definitely the right decision to make when it comes to your health; by visiting one doctor repeatedly over the years, you’re more likely to receive specialized health advice that will benefit you – and less likely to receive bad or generalized advice that doesn’t fit your needs. If you’re still looking for the perfect primary care physician, don’t give up! Practices such as ours hire a range of PCPs because we know different patients want different doctors. The perfect PCP matches your personality and help you feel comfortable opening up about personal health-related details. If you’re still struggling to find the perfect physician for you, feel free to contact Genesis Medical to voice your concerns – we’re sure that we can find someone that’s perfect for you!