Updated: Nov 29, 2022
A primary care physician is a medical professional who has received training in the prevention, detection, and treatment of various diseases and injuries.
You need a primary care doctor to stay healthy. They play a crucial role in assisting you to live healthier lifestyles because they are the first point of contact you or your family members have.
In a study published in 2019, researchers discovered that Americans receiving primary care had better overall experiences with their healthcare. According to the study, people who had a primary care doctor received noticeably more high-quality care.
What does a primary care physician do?
The role of a primary care doctor is to provide general healthcare to patients and to address their various health concerns. Therefore, you usually talk to them as soon as possible whenever you have a medical issue. For example, you could use them for:
Preventive care (stopping illness before it happens)
Common diseases and their treatment
Disease detection (such as cancer) at an early stage
Chronic (long-term) disease management
Referrals to specialist doctors
Many patients have had the same primary care physician for many years. Over time, friendship and trust form among them. In addition, it's common for a family to visit the same doctor for several generations.
This friendship enables the physician to identify them as patient files and distinct people. Familiarity with the patient allows the doctor to provide more personalized treatment.
Conditions that PCP treats.
You can go to your primary care physician if you have the flu, require immunizations, want to stop smoking, need help to manage your diabetes, or need to lose weight. Although they are qualified to handle every element of healthcare, they could refer you to a specialist if your condition requires more specialized treatment.
By offering regular physicals, vaccinations, preventive treatment, and wellness exams, they assist you in maintaining your health. In addition, they help you in managing chronic diseases and common ailments like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension (high blood pressure).
Your family doctor can manage various ailments, including depression and anxiety.
5 reasons to find a Primary Care doctor
Here are five reasons you should consider choosing a primary care doctor:
Your doctor is like a personal trainer because they are familiar with you and your health. They know you and your medical background over time. The doctor keeps up with the most recent findings on disease risk factors and can work with you to develop objectives and reduce your risk. Your doctor is also in the best position to detect a slight change in your health before it develops into something more serious. A primary care physician will support you in adopting a healthy lifestyle and assist you in managing chronic problems, much like a competent coach or teacher might.
No question is too big or small ─ Is this lingering cough something I should be concerned about? You no longer need to worry about your health thanks to the comfort of a long-standing relationship with your doctor. No matter how unimportant or unduly cautious it may appear, you should always seek the advice of your primary care physician if you have any health-related questions or concerns.
Avoid getting sick in the first place ─Regular checkups with your doctor for preventive care and regular screening exams may aid in the detection and prevention of diseases like diabetes, cancer, and diabetes-related heart attacks. A checkup with your doctor is also a wonderful opportunity to discuss any changes in your health and receive necessary vaccines, such as the flu shot. All of these examinations and vaccinations can be tracked by your primary care physician, who can also recommend which ones and when are best for you.
Connect to specialists ─Your primary care physician might refer you to a qualified specialist if you have a medical condition that needs specialized care. It can be intimidating to conduct this research and navigation on your own. If a serious health issue develops, having a reliable advisor with connections to a bigger network of physicians might be beneficial. Your main doctor can assist in coordinating your care if you are referred to one or more specialists.
Access online services ─You can now stay in contact with your doctor from anywhere at any time. When you select a doctor from the Sutter Health network, you can register for My Health Online. You can use your computer or smartphone to email your doctor's office, schedule appointments, renew medications, view test results, pay bills, and more.
Training and qualifications
In the United States (U.S.), the medical education process normally requires a minimum of 11 years of formal training and numerous standardized tests.
Those who want to become doctors complete four years of college to earn a bachelor's degree, then enroll in medical school, which lasts an additional four years. MD (medical doctor) or DO (doctor of osteopathic medicine) degrees are awarded to medical school grads.
The next stage after receiving a medical degree is residency. Depending on the area of medicine, physicians intend to practice and study a specific medical specialization for an additional three to seven years during a residency.
Following residency, some doctors undergo a fellowship, which is even more specialized and can span one to three years. Primary care doctors' specific fields of study include family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or geriatrics.
A lot of doctors choose to get board certification. Doctors must finish a residency at a recognized medical center to become board certified. They must also pass a demanding exam that gauges their expertise in the field they have selected.
How to get a primary care physician
See your primary care physician when you or a family member needs medical attention. (However, dial 911 if you believe you are facing a life-threatening situation.)
PCP is frequently shortened when used as an acronym. Primary care doctor or primary care provider is what it stands for.
There are different types of primary care doctors.
Family doctors treat patients of all ages and frequently handle all the family's medical needs.
Pediatricians provide medical care to kids and teenagers.
Internal medicine specialists, or internists, treat adults.
Geriatricians provide care for the elderly.
OBGYNs are doctors who focus on women's health and may serve as a woman's primary care provider, particularly if she is expecting.
Each physician in these organizations has undergone specialized training to be qualified to care for that specific population. Primary care providers can occasionally be nurse practitioners or physician assistants.
Primary care physician in Atlanta
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