Fundamental Reasons Having A Quality Primary Care Provider Can Be Powerful
Having a primary care provider can literally save your life - here's how
I cannot begin to count the times I have had a new patient in the clinic who when asked if they have a primary care provider, tell me that they do not. When I ask a few more questions about this, some common reasons given for not having a primary care provider (PCP) are:
- I just don't go to doctors
- I don't trust medical people
- I don't want pills
- I don't want surgery
- I'm healthy as a horse!
- I just never need to or have a reason to go
While these are all very good and valid reasons to the person, in the grand scheme of things, they just don't outweigh the potential harms that can arise from NOT having a PCP on your healthcare team.
What is a Primary Care Provider (PCP)?
A PCP is essentially a healthcare system treater and conductor. When it is not an emergency, a PCP is usually the first point of contact for patients in the healthcare system.
What that means is that they can treat various common issues that might be wrong. They can prescribe medication when appropriate and manage the patient's case all right there in their clinic. But, no provider can ever know all there is to know about everything. No provider can be an expert in everything they encounter. For that reason, they are also known as healthcare conductors or navigators. When a patient comes to them and has a condition they can't treat themselves, they typically have a good idea of where to send them. They help conduct the trajectory of the patient's care and navigate them to the right specialist for their condition.
Harvard Health says, "Primary care physicians (PCPs) are generalists who see adult patients for common ailments including respiratory infections, headaches, back pain, and urinary infections. They also manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, and depression. In addition, PCPs have expertise in managing multiple treatments, medications, and the interactions between them. They can address the entire person, taking into account their values, beliefs, and preferences."
Ideally, a PCP has a long-term relationship with their patients. They usually know the patient and are somewhat familiar with their health journey and familiar with what's going on with them physically and mentally. A PCP is a patient's partner in health and don't we all need a little bit of accountability from time to time?
A recent research project said, "Receipt of primary care was associated with significantly more high-value care and better health care experience." (1)
Here's the thing, when you have a PCP that you like and trust and that you keep regular yearly visits with, your PCP will know you better than any other doctor. There is familiarity and there is some comfort in that. If you just go to the Urgent Care clinic randomly here and there, your care is typically non-congruent and you typically will see different providers each time you go. That incongruency can be the root of potential issues.
The BIGGEST reason to have a PCP
They help you prevent disease. They keep you on track and they keep you from missing important milestones. That's right; you don't always go to the doctor when you have an issue. You go to a PCP most of the time to PREVENT issues. It's always preferable to find out things might be on the horizon in your future rather than trying to treat a problem after it's already upon you. Take osteoporosis, for example, females are particularly susceptible to it. If they never have a yearly medical visit, they likely never have a bone scan which can let them know that it's lurking. If it looks like their bone density is trending toward osteoporosis, there are things they can do to slow it or even prevent it. Now, isn't that worth a visit to your PCP?
PCPs keep you on track for things like when it's time for a colonoscopy, mammogram, prostate blood work, or a bones scan as I mentioned.
PCPs are experts at handling a lot of conditions, certainly long-term diseases like:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
PCPs aren't just used for GETTING healthy. They are also there for STAYING healthy and it's a lot cheaper and less painful to STAY healthy rather than to try to GET healthy. It's been proven that staying in front of issues rather than behind them is MUCH more expensive in the long run. Routine screenings by your PCP will help you catch issues early so you can get them handled and maybe even prevented altogether.
Wouldn't you rather know that you're PRE-diabetic rather than diabetic?
Wouldn't it be better knowing you're PRE-cancerous rather than cancerous?
PRE-osteoporotic rather than already there?
These are mostly rhetorical questions because, of course, you'd rather know before rather than after. Having a good PCP that knows you, your goals, your medication, your history, and your current state of health is exactly how you do that.
If you don't have a primary care provider in Amarillo, TX and you need to set up with a PCP, call us right now at 806-355-3000 and let's get you set up with our medical provider today.
If you're not interested in doing it for yourself, I'd like to urge you to get set up with a PCP for your family. Children, brothers, sisters, moms, and dads.....they would all like to keep you around. Set up with a PCP for them if not for yourself.
(1) Levine DM, Landon BE, Linder JA. Quality and Experience of Outpatient Care in the United States for Adults With or Without Primary Care. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(3):363–372. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.6716
Dr. Jeff Williams, DC, FIANM, DABFP is double Board Certified as a Fellow in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Orthopedics as well as a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Professionals, and chiropractor in Amarillo, TX. As an Amarillo chiropractor, Dr. Williams treats chronic pain, disc pain, low back pain, neck pain, whiplash injuries, and more. Dr. Williams is also the host of The Chiropractic Forward Podcast (https://www.chiropracticforward.com). Through the podcast, Dr. Williams teaches fellow chiropractors and advocates weekly for evidence-based, patient-centered practice through current and relevant research. If you have any questions for Dr. Williams, feel free to email at [email protected] Learn more about Dr. Williams and his practice at https://www.amarillochiropractor.com.
Dr. Williams was voted Best Chiropractor In Amarillo in the Best of Amarillo 2020 & 2021. Dr. Williams's full-time Amarillo chiropractic practice is Creek Stone Integrated Medical at 3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T, Amarillo, TX 79109. If you are searching for a chiropractor near me, Dr. Williams is your Amarillo Chiropractor.
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