What is a primary care physician? A primary care physician (PCP), or primary care provider, is a health care professional who practices general medicine. In the old days, people simply called them their “family doctor.” PCPs are our first stop for medical care.
Establishing care with a primary care provider benefits you in three primary ways:
1. Improved Quality of Care
People who see a PCP tend to have better health outcomes. That’s because they can provide:
- Individualized Care: It’s important to have a trusting relationship with a doctor who knows you and your unique medical history.
- Preventative Care: Make regularly scheduled visits with the same doctor to spot danger signs early on.
- Chronic Disease Management: Monitoring chronic diseases is critical for maintaining overall health and preventing unnecessary complications.
- Comprehensive Care: It’s imperative to have one doctor who keeps the big picture in mind by caring for the patient’s immediate medical needs.
2. Higher Patient Satisfaction
Patients who find a reliable PCP tend to be happier with their medical care. That’s because a trusting relationship can lead to:
- Easier Communication: If you know your doctor’s style and they know yours, communication will be easier. You also won’t have to repeat your medical history every time you need a checkup.
- Better Referrals: Get specialist referrals from a trusted source who knows your personality and health history.
- Less Searching: There is no need to go searching for a new doctor, specialist, or urgent care center every time you have a medical problem or concern.
- Less Stress: Keep a regular schedule for your annual physical exams and screenings and you won’t have to wonder if and when it’s time to see a healthcare professional.
3. Lower Overall Costs
If better health and happiness aren’t enough, having a PCP can also help decrease your long-term medical costs. That’s because patients with a PCP tend to have:
- Fewer Hospital and ER Visits: If your PCP is a phone call away, you’ll be less likely to need emergency care. See a doctor regularly and you’re also less likely to be caught off guard by a major health problem.
- Fewer Long-Term Problems: Spot problems early on and you’ll reduce the need for expensive procedures down the road.
- Fewer Complications: Monitoring chronic conditions helps you prevent complications. That improves your health, and helps you lower long-term costs.
How to Find a PCP
Use the BCBSKS “Find a Doctor” tool to find the doctor of your choice and schedule a visit to establish care today!