Thanks to apps, text chains, and Google search results, it’s tempting to forego your annual appointment with a primary care physician (PCP). However, a long-standing relationship with your PCP is one of the best things you can do for your health!
In today’s blog post, I want to share five benefits of having a primary care physician.
1. They serve as a valuable resource during times of crisis.
Did you know that a recent study reveals that 71 percent of all hospital visits could have been avoided? After an accident, many people end up in the emergency room (ER) because they don’t know where else to go. That’s where your PCP comes in! Many doctors save appointment times each day for urgent needs. They may also have time set aside for telehealth appointments, making it easier than ever to seek their medical advice. An added bonus: An appointment with your PCP — even a last minute one — is much cheaper than a costly trip to the ER.
2. Their focus is preventative care, not just reactive care.
Many people turn to their PCP during times of illness, looking for diagnoses and medications. In truth, these doctors help you avoid getting sick in the first place! During your yearly visit, they will ask about your diet, lifestyle, sleep habits, family history, and more. They will also complete blood work and important screenings. Thanks to their guidance, you can make informed decisions about your health and live a long, vibrant life.
3. Studies show you’ll live longer!
According to results shared by the Commonwealth Fund, adults with a PCP are 19 percent less likely to experience premature death. Because of the power of preventative care, there are more benefits to your PCP when you’re healthy than when you’re sick. Your PCP knows you, allowing them to recognize abnormalities or newly-developed symptoms in a way that an ER doctor or physician at an urgent care clinic simply can’t.
4. They can help you understand your insurance and other complicated parts of the healthcare system.
Have you ever wondered if you needed to see a specialist for that weird ache in your hip? Or change the dosage of one of your daily vitamins? Your PCP can guide you. After all, they already have an understanding of your lifestyle and personal history. Better yet, they have access to a large network of local doctors and other medical experts. Plus, thanks to both their knowledge and connections, they may be able to save you money when it comes to lab tests, procedures, and medications.
5. They provide holistic care.
Many people assume that a PCP’s only concern is your physical health, but they treat your mental and emotional health as well. During your visit, they’ll ask about your sleep behaviors, stress levels, experiences with anxiety and/or depression, and more. They can also assess your current medications and vitamins to ensure that everything is working together in harmony.