Your One Stop (Medical) Shop:
A Plethora of Services Offered by Your Primary Care Physician
You wouldn’t take an advanced fondant decorating class without first mastering how to bake a cake – or sign up to play in an orchestra not knowing how to read music. There are certain prerequisites necessary to lay the proper foundation for the experiences that follow.
Likewise, optimal health care requires a solid foundation, including a physician who is familiar with the full breadth of your medical history and conditions. A primary care physician (PCP) offers front-line medical care.
However, according to a recent statistic, many Americans – 28 percent of men and 17 percent of women – still don’t have a PCP. Whether you face concerns due to a current condition, or consider yourself the picture of health, the benefits of having a PCP are boundless.
Primary care physicians typically see patients once a year for a physical exam and preventive care. Routine medical tests will determine if you need to modify any current behaviors to prevent the development of diseases.
Primary Care Physicians in Urgent Cases
Depending on the severity, PCPs can also address emergency issues that arise – from the common cold to a sore back. Doctor’s offices sidestep the long wait times and exorbitant a la carte pricing systems utilized by emergency rooms; and unlike urgent care centers, your PCP will know your full medical history and any underlying conditions that may be cause for concern.
While you can’t put a price on health, research from the Journal of Health Affairs found that keeping routine appointments with your PCP can result in an overall lower cost of health care.
Medicine and preventive care go hand in hand. Conducting a variety of tests, from blood pressure to bloodwork, your PCP is a true diagnostician, an excellent source for detecting medical issues early. Whether it’s prediabetes or heart disease on the horizon, your physician can refer you to a specialist if they see fit. They also act as a liaison between you and the specialist.
Should you have a condition that places you in the hospital, your PCP would coordinate care between multiple specialists. Once you have your condition under control, some specialists may refer you back to your PCP. In some cases (for example, if you have experienced a heart attack), you may continue to see both a cardiologist and your PCP for the long run. If your condition worsens, your primary doc might recommend more frequent visits with the specialist.
Regular Appointments with Your Primary Care Physician
A testament to the holistic nature of primary care, in just one appointment you can discuss a variety of issues that may be bothering you. So, whether you’re interested in a new vaccine or you’re feeling winded when you work out – your PCP’s office is your one-stop shop to get important conversations started. There are many different types of PCPs, and your specific age group and needs will dictate who you should visit.
Family practitioners treat people of all ages, while internists – well-versed in the body’s internal organ systems – typically cater to adults only. Some doctors focus on patients in a certain age range; two examples are pediatricians (who care for children) and geriatricians (who work with the elderly). Many women receive primary care courtesy of their gynecologist or obstetrician, since yearly checkups for the reproductive system are already considered the norm.
Don’t wait until you have a cold, the flu, or any other condition to select a primary care physician. Your insurance provider can assist you in selecting one that is right for you. The medical professionals at Lynx Healthcare offer comprehensive family medicine services including physicals, routine checkups, immunizations, health screenings, personalized counseling, and care for a variety of chronic and acute illnesses – from allergies to osteoporosis. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (509) 591-0070 for Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, Oregon, Yakima, or Goldendale Pain Clinics, or (509) 321-4575 for Spokane.