Five Reasons Why You Need a Primary Care Provider
You may refer to them by their more affectionate title: the family doctor. In the medical field, they're referred to as primary care providers, or PCP, for short. Regardless of what you call them, they are an invaluable part of your total health and wellness picture. Surely everyone has one, right?
A recent national poll of 1,200 randomly selected adults conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found out that 26 percent of people did not have a primary care provider. Breaking down the results further, the polled showed a profound difference between age groups.
An astounding 45 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds had no primary care provider. For adults between the ages of 30 and 49, the number dropped to 28 percent. The trend continued as 18 percent of the individuals age 50 to 64 and 12 percent 65 and older did not have a primary care provider.
They Know You— and Your Family
Most people don't like talking to strangers, especially about their health care needs and concerns. As you establish your PCP, you begin to build a relationship with him or her. They are trained to listen and become more in tuned to how your body reacts and adapts to different conditions. Doing so makes them more likely to notice changes in your health. Over time they will become more familiar with both you and your family's medical history.
According to Firelands Physician Group Certified Nurse Practitioner Dana Easterwood, FNP-C, "Family history can give us more insight into a patient's health status and would give me an idea of what they may be at high risk for as well as what treatments may be most effective for them. It's really invaluable when establishing a patient's health profile."
Lower Out-of-Pocket Cost
Healthcare in America is expensive and trending upward year after year. Establishing a PCP can help you save some money. Research has shown that patients who regularly see a primary care doctor have lower overall healthcare costs than those who do not. To test it, take a look at your insurance card. What is your office visit copay? Now, compare that to Urgent Care and Emergency Room Copays.
A Higher Level of Commitment to Patient Experience
As you see your PCP for treatment of your latest ailment, they're going to want to learn as much as they can about it. How did it happen? Was the injury a result of something else? Does this happen often? Do you notice similar symptoms when completing other tasks?
Excellent care and patient experiences are what Firelands Physician Group prides itself on. As a 2019 Pinnacle of Excellence Award winner by Press Ganey, Firelands Physician Group was recognized as one of the top-performing healthcare organizations nationwide on the basis of extraordinary achievement and consistently high levels of excellence for at least three years in Patient Experience.
"Our employees are drawn to the healthcare field because they want to make a difference in a patient's life, whether big or small," comments Katherine Smith, director of quality with Firelands Physician Group. "Having a continual emphasis on patient experience comes organically for our team. As an organization, we build upon that and use positive feedback to fuel our efforts and constructive feedback to make us better."
Help You Stay Ahead With Preventative Care
Think of them as your "point guard of care." They get your offense going, recommending routine and critical milestone tests, monitoring different body stats, and providing feedback. They will translate complex medical terms, information, and results into easy to understand reports on how you are doing. There's so much to monitor with your body, and as life gets busy, it is easy to let these things fall to the wayside.
Routine maintenance is invaluable to prevention and condition management. Mammograms, cholesterol and blood pressure monitoring, cancer screenings, and colonoscopies are all routine checks and tests that are often put off or completely forgotten. Without the suggestion from a family doctor, you may miss your final opportunity for early identification and treatment of potential health hazards before they become life-altering.
When You Need A Specialist, They'll Know the Right One
"Primary care providers can provide excellent care in a wide variety of areas such as cardiology, psychology, and obstetrics," says Easterwood. "However, at times, cases may be too complex, and even though we have diagnosed you with an issue, if and when necessary, it's our responsibility to refer you to a provider that can get you the best level of care."
Specialists are spectacular in their targeted areas of expertise. At some point in your life, you're going to have a condition that requires the input of someone more knowledgeable about that specific health issue. When this time comes, it is very reassuring to have your doctor help you find that cardiologist, orthopedic surgeon, or any other of the many different specialists that fit your specific needs and personality.
Find Your Primary Care Provider Today!
Dana Easterwood is one of Firelands Physician Group 19 primary care providers, specializing in family and internal medicine, located throughout Erie, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Huron County. If you do not have a primary care physician, call 419-557-5591 and talk to one of our friendly staff members who can help find a doctor near you.