Your primary care provider (PCP) is your go-to for annual physicals and sick visits — but they can also provide comprehensive care well beyond annual checkups, too. We’re here to explain the additional kinds of services you might not know your PCP can provide.
What is a Primary Care Doctor?
Your primary care provider may be a physician (Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine), nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist or physician assistant. They practice general health care, addressing a wide variety of health concerns for patients. They are usually the first point of contact if you have a health concern. They want to build a trusting relationship with you as your long-term family provider.
You might visit a PCP for:
- Annual wellness visits
- A referral to a specialist
- Blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol tests
- Early detection of conditions and illnesses
- Flu shots and immunizations
- Management of chronic conditions
- Preventive care
- Treatment for common illnesses
Primary care providers offer personalized guidance in managing a number of common issues and conditions such as:
1. Anxiety and Depression
PCPs are often the first to identify, diagnose and initiate treatment for mental health conditions. Two of the most common diagnoses in family medicine are anxiety and depression. They can prescribe medications like antidepressants, and the most common type of referral is for mental health counseling.
2. Digestive Issues
For digestive problems, the first point of contact should be your primary care provider. For issues like acid reflux and GERD, your primary care doctor can treat you without a referral. If your PCP determines you need more specialized care, they will likely refer you to a gastroenterologist.
3. Pain Management
Pain is one of the most common reasons patients seek medical attention, usually beginning with their primary care provider. Your family doctor can help alleviate your pain associated with injuries, cancer, osteoarthritis, diabetes and more. They may use pain medication, steroid injections or refer you to physical therapy.
4. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Your primary care provider can effectively diagnose and treat ADHD. They can monitor medication given and alter it as needed and refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist to supplement your treatment.
5. Gynecological Services
Women benefit from having both PCPs and OB/GYN providers. While PCPs do not provide the same specialized care that OB/GYNs do, your PCP can provide some of the same services, like prescribing birth control pills, treating vaginal or urinary tract infections and performing certain health screenings. They can also refer you for mammograms and coordinate with other specialists depending on your needs and circumstances.
Whole-Person Primary Care
Developing an ongoing relationship with your primary care physician and making your health a priority is the best thing for you long-term.
You can read more about five life-changing benefits of primary care here.
Our primary care providers at AdventHealth are focused on your whole-person health. Visit us here to learn how we can support your wellness in body, mind and spirit.