A primary care provider is your partner in lifelong health. They help you better manage chronic diseases and feel more satisfied with your care.
Their training lets them treat you and your family during all the stages of life — from early childhood through the senior years. All along the way, they’ll care for you as a whole person: body, mind and spirit.
Here are five important ways building a relationship with a primary care provider can improve health care for you and your family.
It’s important to visit your primary care physician annually for a routine checkup to ensure you are healthy and to keep an eye on any chronic illnesses. Having a single physician who has seen you for everything from headaches to immunizations to blood pressure control means having a health resource who knows your health 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 — it’s all in your medical record already.
Within a primary care practice, you can access a wide variety of health services like preventive care and screenings, plus care for chronic conditions such as asthma, hypertension and diabetes, as well as acute care for problems like coughs and high fever.
AdventHealth has also created greater convenience within the health system with the recent installation of Epic, a single, integrated electronic health record (EHR) and revenue cycle management system. With this implementation, health records will be easily accessible regardless of the care setting in which a patient interacts with the health system, fostering greater efficiency and coordination.
3. Preventive Care
Your primary care doctor can 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 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Then, they can help you take steps to help prevent them from developing.
4. Early Detection
Regular checkups and contact with a single physician mean you can catch health issues early when they're most treatable.
5. Better Communication
When you know your doctor and their 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 new place.
How to Prep for your Primary Care Visit
Unfortunately, we often let hurry, worry or embarrassment keep us from getting what we need from a physician visit. So, how can you maximize one-on-one time with your doctor? Try these tips:
Make a List
Before your appointment, jot down the two or three things you want to ask the doctor so you don’t forget.
Be prepared to describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible. If you're having knee pain, for example, explain what it feels like and when it occurs. Is it sharp or dull? Is it constant or does it come and go?
Get Medicines Checked
If you take several medications that have been prescribed by different doctors, bring a list of them or bring the pill bottles with you.
Don't leave your biggest worry for the end of the visit. Mention major concerns early to be sure there's time to answer your questions.
Don't Try to Be Your Own Doctor
It’s good to do research, but resist jumping to conclusions about your condition.
Summarize What You’ve Learned
Before the doctor leaves the room, ask for the opportunity to repeat back the main things you learned during your visit to help ensure you understood everything fully.
Take Charge of Your Health
If you need a primary care physician, we can help. With multiple locations across Northwest Georgia, AdventHealth Gordon, AdventHealth Murray and AdventHealth Redmond offer exceptional primary care close to home.