Choosing a primary care physician and maintaining the relationship with regular visits is an important step you can take to protect your health, at any age. When you get ill or injured, your primary care doctor is the person in charge of seeing that you get the medical care you need and he/she is also focused on keeping you well and healthy so that you can live life the way you want to.
Choosing the Right Primary Care Doctor
Internist, Family Medicine Practitioner or Pediatrician?
- Internists treat adults
- Pediatricians treat children up until the age of 21
- Family medicine practitioners take care of people of all ages, infancy through senior years
All of our primary care physicians take the time to get to know you and learn as much as they can about your family's health history.
Care provided by Primary Care Doctors
Preventive care. To help you stay healthy, preventive care includes making sure that you are getting the immunizations and screening tests you need at the right time, and providing advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
Treatment of illnesses and injuries. Your primary care physician identifies and treats common medical conditions, evaluates the severity of health complaints, refers you to specialists as needed, treats illnesses and works with you to manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure).
Coordinating medical care. Medical care can be complicated, particularly for patients who have one or more chronic medical conditions. Your primary care doctor ensures you see the right doctors at the right times, keeps track of your treatments and medications to be sure one doesn't interfere with another, and communicates with each of your doctors about what's going on with your health.
When Do You Need A Primary Care Doctor?
Even when you are in good health it is important to have a good relationship with your primary care physician. He/she will keep you healthy with physical examinations, immunizations and health education information. Your primary care doctor will let you know whether or not you need to get a flu shot and whether you need certain tests, such as heart screenings and cancer screenings.
When you get injured or are feeling unwell, your primary care doctor can diagnose and treat your problem. An important advantage of having a primary care doctor is that you will always know that your care is being directed by a doctor who knows and understands all of your medical needs. He/she should be your first stop for all your medical concerns, including undiagnosed, non-emergencies, such as:
- Colds vs. Flu. If you have a sore throat or chest cold symptoms, your primary care doctor will help determine whether you are suffering a common cold, a virus or the flu.
- Infections. Primary care doctors can diagnose and treat ear infections, eye infections and other common complaints.
- Stomach upset. Your primary care doctor can help determine whether your digestive upset is caused by a stomach flu, a food-borne illness, or may be something more serious or complicated that requires a visit to a specialist.
- Injuries. If you fall or are injured during your normal activities or even while playing sports, your primary care physician can assess your condition and determine whether you need an x-ray or to see an orthopedic specialist.
- Chronic disease management. Your primary care doctor will also help you manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
- Care Coordination. If you need to see a medical specialist, your primary care doctor coordinates and manages your care, making sure that treatments you receive are appropriate for you, that the drugs you are prescribed work well together, and that all the doctors who care for you know about other medical problems you may be having.