You’re young, you feel great. No major health concerns and you have a thousand things to do. So why would you want to complicate your already hectic life with one more thing like taking the time for an annual physical or finding a Primary Care Provider (PCP)?
Believe it or not, research shows that people who have a primary care doctor actually live longer. They are less likely to die from cancer, heart disease, stroke and many other illnesses. The reason is simple: over time, you and your doctor form a relationship. You get to know each other, which leads to better medical care by catching small health problems before they become serious.
Here are six other benefits to building a relationship with a primary care physician:
1. One-Stop Shopping. A Primary Care Provider knows how to deal with everything from helping you through a bout with the flu to back pain and digestion issues, to uncovering serious illnesses like cancer and heart disease. They can treat almost anything. If not, they’ll get you to a doctor who can.
2. Someone Who Knows All About You. Over time, your doctor will get to know you as person, not just your body. You’ll build trust and be able to talk about anything that’s bothering you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
3. Coordination of Care. Your Primary Care Provider is the point person who helps you navigate the healthcare jungle. He or she:
• knows your health and family history
• helps you find the best specialist if you need one.
• knows about all of the medicines and supplements you’re taking and look for possible interactions.
• orders the right tests and other diagnostics you need at each stage of your life.
• answers any questions you have regarding your care, no matter where you receive it, so you are clear on all of the details
• and much more.
4. Keeps You Healthy. Your Primary Care Provider isn’t just interested in you when you’re sick. He or she wants to partner with you on a wellness and prevention plan too. Consider your Primary Care Provider your best source for information on things like weight management, smoking cessation, help with alcohol and drug use, sexual health and fertility, and managing stress and anxiety.
5. Routine Screenings. Your PCP will do or arrange for screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and more. It’s important to note that many serious illnesses are found during routine physicals. We’re talking the top three silent diseases that have no symptoms: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes. When these illnesses are left untreated they can have severe consequences. Also, many early stage cancers have no symptoms. Detecting cancer early gives you an edge for successful treatment and cure.
6. Time Savings. If you establish yourself with a primary care doctor, it’s easier to get in for an appointment. At Vibrant Health Family Clinics we offer same or next day appointments for our patients who need to see us right away – helping you to avoid an urgent care visit and higher charge.
So, have we convinced you? Having a Primary Care Provider you trust is one the most important things you can do for a lifetime of good health.
Here are a few resources to help you pick a Primary Care Provider who’s right for you:
The brief guide below was created to help walk you through the decision process of choosing a Primary Care Provider who is right for you.
Think about what’s important to you, and then write down a list of your top criteria.
Questions you may want to consider for your list may include:
• Where is the physician’s office located?
• What is the physician’s philosophy of care?
• What insurances does he or she accept?
• What personality traits do you most appreciate in a physician?
• Does the office offer weekend or evening appointments? Do the office hours work with your schedule?
• How much time does the physician typically spend with patients?
• What languages does he or she speak?
• Does the doctor use an electronic medical record? Are patients able to access their medical information, request appointments and see lab and other test results online?
Do your homework.
The more you know about your physician, the more likely you are to feel like you’ve found a good fit. To find information, consider doing the following:
• Ask friends, family, and co-workers about their physicians.
• Schedule a free get-to-know-you visit
• If available, review patient satisfaction star ratings and comments to see what current patients think of the care they receive.
• Look at the physicians’ credentials and years of experience.
• Watch videos of our physicians to get a feel for their personalities and their approaches to care.
Review all of the information and make a decision.
When making a final decision, consider both the facts and how you feel. You have to be able to trust your physician, and you also have to feel comfortable speaking candidly and openly about any topic related to your health.