Choosing your primary care physician is one of the most important things you do when you get a new health care plan. While you can get treated at urgent care, the emergency room or a retail health clinic, your primary care doctor provides you with a level of personal and holistic care that is unmatched. In addition to prescribing medicine and doing routine check-ups, primary care physicians get to know you and your health, meaning they can constantly look for ways to keep you feeling your best. Here’s how they do that:
- They help you plan for your future. Because of your routine appointments together, your primary doctor is able to detect certain health issues before they become more serious problems. An early diagnosis means that your doctor can provide preventive care and mild treatments that can improve symptoms and keep them from progressing. Regular visits can also help you and your doctor stay on top of chronic health conditions, like diabetes, which can be difficult to monitor on your own. If you have goals such as quitting smoking, losing weight or starting a family, they can help you make the right choices to achieve them.
- They are a trusted advisor. The ideal primary care physician-patient relationship is one that lasts years. That’s why, when you select your primary care physician, you want to look for someone you can trust and who you feel comfortable with. You should feel comfortable talking openly about things like your family health history and concerns you have, as well as have no fear when asking questions.
- They help you manage your own care. With a close eye on your health, your primary care physician can help you avoid an unnecessary trip to the emergency room. Some doctors have evening and weekend hours and may even answer questions via e-mail on a patient portal, so they are accessible when health challenges arise. This is good for your health and your wallet, since hospital bills can be costly.
- They think big picture. At an urgent care or retail health clinic, you are usually there to solve a single ailment, like an ear infection or a sore throat. But primary care doctors are able to spend more time checking your body from head to toe and doing any necessary screenings. Instead of just treating your sinus infection, they can see if there’s an underlying cause leading to your chronic symptoms. They also take things like your family health history into consideration.
If you want to select or change your primary care physician, log in to your account at bcbsm.com, call the number on the back of your ID card or visit Find a Doctor. Learn more about primary care and your other choices when it’s not an emergency at bcbsm.com/findcare. If you found this post helpful, you might also be interested in:
- The People Who Care for You: What It Takes to Become a Nurse
- 5 Advantages of Using Blue Cross Online Visits
- Primary Care Physicians: Defining What Matters Most To You
Photo credit: Syda Productions