Why Do I Need a Primary Care Physician? 7 Reasons to See Yours

Do you ever won­der why you need a pri­ma­ry care physi­cian (PCP)?

Does mak­ing an appoint­ment for your annu­al exam feel like just one more thing to check off your list?

Do you won­der why estab­lish­ing care is necessary?

When it comes to decid­ing if you real­ly need a PCP, the short answer is yes. They can have a big impact on your health, and they can be an impor­tant resource to have through­out your life.

Here are 7 ben­e­fits of see­ing a PCP at least once a year.

1. Pro­vide pre­ven­ta­tive care and health education.

One of the most impor­tant ser­vices a PCP can offer is pre­ven­ta­tive care. See­ing a PCP at least once year­ly for well­ness exams helps ensure that you are up-to-date on rec­om­mend­ed tests, screen­ings, and vac­ci­na­tions. Often, these ser­vices aid in pre­ven­tion and ear­ly detec­tion of major health con­di­tions such as dia­betes, heart dis­ease, and high blood pres­sure. Pre­vent­ing these con­di­tions and pro­mot­ing a healthy lifestyle will help to cre­ate a stronger, more vibrant you.

2. Be there when you get sick.

When you come down with an ill­ness or injury, it’s com­fort­ing to have some­one on hand who knows you and your his­to­ry. Your PCP is there to help you through your sick­ness by pro­vid­ing nec­es­sary test­ing and treat­ment options. They can also pro­vide fol­low-up, answer­ing any ques­tions or con­cerns you may have about your ill­ness after you leave the office.

3. Catch health con­cerns early. 

Hav­ing a PCP comes in handy not only when you have an acute ill­ness – but they can also pro­vide long-term health ben­e­fits. Year­ly check-ups with your PCP will ensure that you have the nec­es­sary screen­ings (such as a mam­mo­gram or colonoscopy) to help catch treat­able med­ical con­di­tions ear­ly. Your PCP will also con­firm that your health screen­ings are tai­lored to you specif­i­cal­ly – know­ing your per­son­al and fam­i­ly his­to­ry can allow them to deter­mine if there are any oth­er tests that are nec­es­sary to safe­guard your future health.

Make your annu­al well­ness vis­it a pri­or­i­ty by find­ing a Pri­ma­ry Care Provider or mak­ing an appoint­ment with yours today.

4. Pre­scribe and man­age your medications.

If you have any chron­ic med­ical con­di­tions, you and your PCP can work togeth­er to cre­ate the best plan of care. They will make sure that you are on the appro­pri­ate med­ica­tions and treat­ment plan. They will also con­tin­ue to mon­i­tor your health over time and advise any oth­er options if need­ed. Your PCP can also serve as a resource for any ques­tions that you have as they join you on your jour­ney toward a health­i­er you. 

5. Make refer­rals to specialists. 

For those health con­di­tions that require more spe­cial­ized care, your PCP can offer refer­rals to the appro­pri­ate spe­cial­ists. Your PCP can then fol­low up with any rec­om­men­da­tions offered by the spe­cial­ists. Sev­er­al com­mon refer­rals your PCP can make include phys­i­cal ther­a­py, car­di­ol­o­gy, gas­troen­terol­o­gy, surgery, or dermatology.

6. Coor­di­nate your care.

You may have sev­er­al health con­di­tions that require the ser­vices of a spe­cial­ist, which can become dif­fi­cult to bal­ance. As your health becomes more com­plex, your care team often grows to include mul­ti­ple spe­cial­ists. Your PCP often becomes the go-between, coor­di­nat­ing with mul­ti­ple spe­cial­ists and pro­fes­sion­als to ensure that your treat­ment plans are stream­lined and effec­tive. It can be com­fort­ing to know that some­one who knows your sto­ry and with whom you have built a rela­tion­ship is at the heart of your care team.

7. Men­tal health support.

Last­ing health and well­ness includes not only sup­port­ing peak phys­i­cal health – but also includes your men­tal health as well. Devel­op­ing a rela­tion­ship with a PCP you can trust will help ensure that all aspects of your well­ness are addressed. Your PCP can help with self-care sug­ges­tions, stress relief tips, and treat­ment for any men­tal health con­di­tions as need­ed. Your PCP is there to sup­port you in your jour­ney to become the best ver­sion of your­self – phys­i­cal­ly and mentally. 

Find a Pri­ma­ry Care Provider Today

Even if you haven’t seen yours in a while (or don’t have a PCP at all), it’s nev­er too late to find a provider and start see­ing them on a reg­u­lar basis. You can find a provider online and search by spe­cial­ty, loca­tion, and even availability. 

A pri­ma­ry care physi­cian doesn’t just have to be anoth­er face­less doc­tor who you see and imme­di­ate­ly for­get. They can be an impor­tant part of your health team and jour­ney. When you see the same per­son over many years, you can build a strong rela­tion­ship and have con­fi­dence in the care you receive.

  • Haley Koth, DO - Orland Park Family Doctor

    I love building close relationships with my patients based on communication, honesty and high-quality medical care. My goal is to help my patients in their journey to become the best version of themselves, both physically and mentally.