In all areas of life, including your health, communication is necessary. Without it, progress halts and knowledge freezes, leaving many questions unanswered and, in the case of your wellness, future health risks unknown. Because of this, establishing a channel of communication and connection with a primary care provider is of vital importance. Studies confirm that people who regularly visit their primary care providers not only experience better health outcomes but also have lower long-term costs of care.
If you are among the growing 25 percent of Americans who do not have a primary care provider, here are four additional reasons why you should prioritize your health today.
Primary care providers have the potential to know you best.
By establishing yourself with a primary care provider and scheduling regular appointments, you and your provider will develop a professional relationship that will ensure your health needs are understood and personalized. Rather than having to explain your medical history and introduce yourself each visit, you’ll be able to save time and have the peace of mind knowing that your care is coming from a provider who fully understands all of your current and future health needs.
As a best practice, prior to each appointment, take time to review your own family health history, understand if there are age-appropriate screenings or vaccinations you should obtain, as well as write down a list of any questions or observations on your health you would like to discuss with your provider. All of this will help contribute to the building of a solid relationship for the benefit of your health and wellbeing.
Regular check-ups and health screenings can detect early health risks.
While it may seem routine to have your weight and blood pressure checked each time you visit your provider, these simple assessments, along with other important screenings are beneficial to potentially identifying a health issue before it escalates. Remember, the earlier an issue is addressed, the better your chances for treatment. During your visit, your primary care provider may also choose to measure your height, perform a skin check, listen to your heart and lungs, check your ears and eyes, as well as check your stomach, thyroid and lymph nodes for signs or symptoms that may seem abnormal. All of this is to ensure everything is in working order to help you live a healthier life, as well as to establish new baselines for the future of your care.
Together, with your doctor, you can manage existing health conditions.
Many chronic health issues, such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis or high blood pressure and cholesterol can be challenging if not addressed with a medical professional. Your primary care provider will assess your risk, and if diagnosed with a chronic health condition, will help you manage your care through treatment and medications. Keep in mind that medication refills may be more challenging to obtain without an established provider relationship. Additionally, by keeping your commitment to regular check-ups, your provider will be able to ensure you are being treated with the most up-to-date and available course of care.
A primary care doctor can guide you to other specialists.
While your primary care provider can care for a wide variety of health issues, there may be times where your health conditions require a check by a specialist. When you have an established relationship with a primary care provider, he or she can present specialist options in order for both of you to make a shared decision on the specialist for your care. Once this connection is made, your provider can be connected to your specialist in order to ensure your continuity of care is not compromised in any way.
At the end of the day, primary care should be the primary way your health is monitored. And because of the high value placed on the relational aspect between you and your provider, picking the provider that’s right for you is significant. Do your research, ask for recommendations and go with your instinct on who will be the right connection for your primary health care needs.