When the phrase “healthy lifestyle choice” comes up, we often think of changing our diet, adding exercise into our routine or making the change to smoke-free living, but there’s another factor to your personal and lifelong journey to good health.
A primary care provider (PCP) – a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant who specialize in general medicine – can be key to your well-being. Here are just eight ways having a PCP can help you:
- Establishing your health status and history – As part of your first visit, your PCP will conduct a routine check-up, which might include taking your blood pressure, calculating your body mass index, doing a physical exam and conducting any other preventive screenings recommended for you. Over time, developing a relationship with your PCP can help you as they will have a clear understanding of your health and medical history.
- Preventing chronic conditions through well visits and health promotion activities – A PCP can be key to helping you stay healthy. Regular visits can uncover conditions that might otherwise go unnoticed. In addition, they can be your guide toward healthy lifestyle habits, and be your trusted confidant with any private medical concerns, especially during your most vulnerable moments.
- Ordering the tests you need at each stage of life to optimize your health – Depending on your gender and age, there are various screenings your provider might recommend. These screenings can detect problems earlier, before they’ve turned into serious health conditions, helping maintain your overall health and wellness.
- Convenience, access and timeliness. If you get sick during the year, having an established relationship with a PCP means you get an appointment more quickly when you need one.
- Managing chronic conditions – Having a chronic condition can be overwhelming. Working with your PCP can ease your stress as they help to monitor your condition and coordinate your care.
- Recommending a specialist if you need one – Your PCP is often your first contact with a health care system. If you have an illness that requires additional support, they can refer you to a trusted specialist.
- Coordinating your treatment with specialists and/or medications and supplements you might be taking – At Bon Secours, our electronic medical record (EMR) system makes communication between various specialists and care teams seamless! In addition, our secure patient portal MyChart makes communication between you and your provider easy. These connected systems mean you and your entire health team can easily communicate.
- Lowering your overall health care costs – You might have heard that saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Regular preventive care and visiting your PCP for urgent health care concerns can help you avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room. In addition, having someone in your corner who can help you catch conditions before they’re a problem and assist you in making lifestyle changing, which can decrease the likelihood that you’ll need expensive specialty care down the road.
Even if you’re generally healthy, developing a relationship with a PCP is at the heart of good health. Studies show that people with a PCP have better health outcomes and live longer.