What Does Primary Care Involve?
June 28, 2021
You are a complex individual with unique health and wellness goals.
You will not trust just anybody with you or your families continuity of care.
To set yourself up with effective care you will need a Primary Care Provider that has a deep understanding of your medical history, overarching goals, and healthcare concerns.
Primary care physicians are the preferred choice when seeking a provider that can treat a wide range of medical conditions while using proven preventive care approaches.
Primary care practitioners are specially trained in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of conditions that may arise throughout the course of your entire life.
The most effective techniques that are employed in primary care settings include preventive care such as cancer screenings, diabetes, disease prevention, and chronic illness management as well as treatment for a broad range of acute injuries and sickness.
Types Of Primary Care Physicians
Depending on your age, stage of life, and clinical complexity there are many different types of providers to choose from, all offering different specialized medical care.
Regardless of the type of provider, they all act as the first point of contact in the healthcare system and provide effective care for their patients. Depending on the individual patient, they may be referred to secondary care to see a specialist that can better treat their unique needs.
- Nurse Practitioner
- Internal Medicine Doctor
- Obstetrician & Gynecologist (OB-GYN)
- Physician Assistant
When it is time to decide on a new primary care practice for you and your family, the amount of choices may seem overwhelming. Depending on the levels of care that you are seeking and any specific issues that may be present such as chronic disease, this will have a strong impact on your final decision.
Each of these designations offer different primary care services, which will be covered in detail to help you make the best informed decision. Keep in mind that the care coordination involved is just as important as the provider itself, access to referrals for specialized care is key for your families success.
A nurse practitioner (NP) has completed a masters degree program and spent time in advanced clinical training studying the competencies of primary and acute care. They are clinicians that have a wide range of expertise in diagnosing and treating chronic conditions, administering preventive care and building lasting relationships with their patients over time.
The unique emphasis on health and well being of the person as a whole is what sets nurse practitioners apart from other types of healthcare providers. This is especially true when they are teamed up with other in house specialists and can combine their preventive and educational techniques with quality comprehensive care.
For example, some nurse practitioners work in conjunction with chiropractors, massage therapists, and mental health services to give the best possible care for their patients all under one roof.
Pediatricians are the go to choice for parents who want their children to receive specialized care from childbirth through early adolescence. Health care decisions are crucial when children are in the early stages of development, and choosing the right pediatrician can be key in your child’s development.
Most commonly, pediatricians will see your little one regularly from birth to age 2, and annually from age 2 to age 5. These annual checkups are known as “well child visits”, and are an important part of ongoing care for children. After age 5, most parents choose to still attend annual checkups to make sure that their child has a strong foundation for growth, and create a sustained partnership with the pediatrician to ensure their child’s success.
- Perform physical examinations
- Administer recommended immunizations
- Make sure that your child is reaching crucial developmental milestones
- Answer any questions about the child’s growth
- Provide information about health, nutrition, safety and fitness needs
Internal Medicine Doctor
Also known as “Internists”, this type of primary care doctor specializes in applying scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to treatment and diagnosis of adults with varying complex conditions.
Internists are usually experts in heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and chronic lung disease. If any of these conditions fall within your personal health care needs, an internist may be the
Internists complete studies in medical school for for years, and also must complete multiple terms of residency training, which usually lasts three years. Most internists care for their patients in a medical practice setting, some internists are knows as “hospitalists” and only care for patients who are in the hospital.
Geriatricians are a specialized primary care doctor that has trining in treating patients aged 65 and over. Often times, patients in that age range have multiple or complex health issues that require a higher level of care and care coordination than other age ranges.
This type of health care professional pays specific attention to overall quality of life and goal setting.
The care that they provide can be classified into five main areas:
- Mobility: Identify potential issues of physical mobility, help patients understand the causes and how to prevent them
- Mind: Deep understanding of how time effects the mind in regard to cognitive, affective, and behavioral health
- Medication: Many people aged 65+ are taking multiple medications, it is important to make sure that they do not conflict and no side effects occur
- Matters Most: Help patients with end of life care
- Multi-complexity: Management of chronic conditions, often more than one at a time.
Obstetrician - Gynecologist (OB-GYN)
This type of primary care provider has a focus on female reproductive health. Obstetrics is defined as working directly with pregnant women, including delivery. Gynecology involves treating a wide range of conditions that can occur in the female reproductive system, including chronic pain sexually transmitted infections.
Some of the most common primary health care services that OB-GYN’s provide include STI / STD Testing, pelvic exams, ultrasounds, pap smears, and blood work.
Recommendations in regard to frequency of visits with your OB-GYN change depending on age, but many women choose to see them at least once per year. Seeing your primary care practice at least once per year is essential to forge strong relationships with your healthcare team.
Not to be confused with a “physician”, a Physician Assistant is a medical professional that helps to diagnose What Does Primary Care Involve – Learn More, develop treatment plans, and prescribe medications. Often times they see patients as their primary health care provider.
One advantage to seeing a PA, is that they provide primary care services that are the same in quality to a family physician, but are often easier to schedule appointments with resulting in being cared for in adequate time.
Primary Care Services
Regardless of your age, stage of life or clinical complexity it is important to choose a provider that offers primary care services matching your specific needs.
You may be wondering, What Are Primary Care Services?
While the specialties vary from one type of family doctor to the next, they are all capable of being an excellent first point of contact for any undiagnosed health condition that you may be experiencing.
Choosing A Primary Care Physician
Once you are familiar with the different types of primary care specialties that are available, it comes down to choosing which is the right one for you and your family.
It can be daunting trying to choose the right primary care clinic, fortunately we have come up with some guidelines to help you choose the right family doctor. Check out our article “How To Choose A Primary Care Physician (12 Tips!)” to learn more about the factors that should be considered when making a healthcare decision.
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*The material contained in this blog post is for general information purposes only. You should not rely on the material or information in this article to make any diagnosis or healthcare decision. Any healthcare decision that you make should be brought up with and agreed upon in conjunction with your primary care provider. South Pointe Healthcare at Coal Creek LLC in no circumstances is liable to any party for damages that may occur directly or indirectly from information or material contained in this article.