This story originally appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Oxford Health & Life Magazine.
In an increasingly complex medical world, having one doctor who knows your health history has become highly important.
Researchers at the journal Health Affairs found
that patients who have a primary care provider
benefit from better management of chronic
diseases, lower overall health-care costs
and a higher level of satisfaction with
Here are the five most important
ways building a relationship
with a primary care provider—
to include the specialties
of internal medicine, family
practice and pediatrics—can
improve health care for you and
Having a single
physician who has seen you for everything
from bellyaches to immunizations
to blood-pressure control means having
a health resource who knows your history.
When you have an appointment, you don’t have
to explain that there’s heart disease in your family
or list the medications you’re taking and in what
doses—it’s all in your record already.
Within a primary care practice
you can access a wide variety of health services:
preventive care and screenings; care for chronic conditions
such as asthma, hypertension and diabetes;
and acute care for problems like coughs, digestive issues
and high fever.
3. HEALTH MAINTENANCE.
Your primary care
doctor is uniquely positioned to help you avoid health
problems. Based on the doctor’s examination and your
medical history, he or she can determine whether you’re
at increased risk for conditions like high blood pressure,
diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and then help you
take steps to prevent them from developing.
4. EARLY DETECTION.
Regular checkups and
contact with a single physician make it more likely
that any health issues will be detected early, when
they’re most treatable.
5. BETTER COMMUNICATION.
know their physician and the practice staff, visits are
less stressful and more productive. It’s easier to talk
about sensitive issues with someone you know in a familiar
setting than with a stranger in a strange place.