Your primary care provider (PCP) can attend to the majority of your health needs.
- Routine screenings. Many common health problems (including colon cancer, breast cancer and diabetes) have screenings that can detect the disease at the earliest stage. There are standard recommendations for when these screenings should occur for most people, but if you are at an increased risk, you may need these screenings more often or earlier in life. Your PCP knows the standard recommendations, as well as any personal health concerns that could change your needs.
- Annual physical. You never grow out of needing your annual exam. Yearly well visits give you an opportunity to ask your PCP questions, review health changes from year to year and build a relationship.
- Everyday illnesses. Ear infections, strep throat and that weird rash you can’t identify are all within the scope of primary care. Going to the same provider for acute illnesses also means your PCP may notice patterns that could indicate a larger problem.
- Vaccinations. Back-to-school isn’t the only time you need vaccines. Yearly flu shots, as well as vaccines recommended for older adults, are all given by your PCP.
- Referrals. If you have a problem that requires specialized care, your doctor can refer you to a trusted specialist.
- Tobacco cessation. You know you should quit smoking, but did you know your PCP can help? Ask your doctor about strategies for quitting (including counseling, medication and nicotine replacement therapy).
- Chronic illness management. Diabetes, heart disease, depression and other long-term issues have serious consequences if left unchecked. Your PCP is your best ally in keeping these problems under control.
Before You Choose
Your primary care doctor should be the co-pilot in your flight toward health. Make sure you ask the right questions before choosing one:
- What is his or her specialty? Family practice, geriatric and internal medicine doctors are all considered primary care providers. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are also highly trained medical professionals who provide primary care services.
- Is the office easy to access? Finding a doctor’s office close to your home or work is the first step. Check to see if he or she offers same-day appointments, as well as has office hours that are convenient for you and your family.
- Does this practice offer ways for me to be engaged in my care? Your healthcare is only as good as your relationship with your doctor. Look for a doctor you can rely on, and who communicates with you in a way you understand.
Need a PCP? To find a doctor who meets your health needs, visit PorterPhysicianGroup.com or call (844) PPG-DOCS (774-3627).