Do you have a primary care physician, a doctor who serves as your first stop if you have a health concern? A 2018 poll showed that 26% of adults didn't have a designated PCP and the percent was even higher for 18- to 29-year-olds at 45%. What’s behind this trend? Most say the long wait times and lack of convenience are the biggest factors. While there may be longer waiting periods when it comes to scheduling a doctor’s appointment when you’re sick, there are many more advantages to regularly seeing your primary care doctor when you have a minor illness or injury including:
- Centralized care: A primary care doctor can keep tabs on important vitals including blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight. By visiting your primary doctor, you are helping to build a comprehensive record that your doctor can use to figure out when things may be pointing to something more serious.
- Holistic treatment: Your doctor can also help keep track of important tests and exams you may need as you go through life.
- Develop trust: Not only does your primary doctor understand your family history and previous health issues, they are also there to answer any and all of your questions. It may be tempting to search your symptoms online to figure out what’s wrong, but your primary care doctor can be a source of truth to keep your health on track.
Choosing the right setting for care is an important decision. By building a relationship with a PCP, you're less likely to need to turn to an urgent care or emergency department setting for routine care that can be delivered in a doctor's office. Your PCP can also help you identify health problems before they're serious, allowing you to potentially save money and avoid costly, invasive procedures or treatments. Overall, a primary care doctor will be there with you for the long haul, providing the comfort and stability you need in your health care journey. When your primary care doctor isn’t available, you always have other options like a retail health clinic, urgent care center, or telemedicine choices like Blue Cross Online VisitsSM and the 24-Hour Nurse Line. Learn more about your choices when it’s not an emergency at bcbsm.com/findcare. If you found this post helpful, you might also be interested in:
- The Many Types of Primary Care Doctors: Choosing the Right One for You
- The Difference Between Retail Health Clinics and Urgent Care Centers
- 5 Advantages of Using Blue Cross Online VisitsSM
Photo credit: Bruce Mars