Visiting Your Primary Care Physician (PCP) First and Often
To understand what primary care is, we need talk terminology first. There are three types of Primary Care Physicians (PCP); two of them apply to you, but we’ll go through all three for fun.
- Pediatrician – Cares for children.
- Internal Medicine – Cares for adults.
- Family Practitioner – Cares for both.
Think has internists and family physicians. Each Primary Care Physician has an entire team of nurses and pharmacists helping you manage your whole health. Are you smarter than you were 5-7 seconds ago? Maybe yes, maybe no. Keep reading, and you’ll surely be smarter about your healthcare than you were before.
Let’s say you notice a sharp pain in your back, or that chronic pain in your foot is acting up again. Your Primary Care Physician is your first point of contact on your road to wellness.
Well, there are actually tons of reasons why you need to go to your PCP first and often.
Here are two important reasons you should use your PCP to manage your whole health:
1. Going to your PCP before a specialist increases communication and collaboration.
It’s obvious that communication is essential to maintain your whole health. You wouldn’t want to go to a cardiologist first, who has no comprehensive, centralized documentation of your health history and medications. What if you can’t remember your mediation list and they prescribe you conflicting medications?
Think of your Primary Care Physician the guardian of your healthcare plan. At Think, they, along with the rest of your care management team, have access to your Electronic Health Record (EHR), accessible to all who treat you within the walls of Think.
With the touch of a button, your PCP can see all your medical history, medications, notes, and more. Plus, they can consult with their pharmacist (yes, there is one Clinical Pharmacist assigned to each Think PCP!). All of this makes it way more likely your healthcare decisions are informed and effective – and that you’re getting the absolute best, most affordable medication combinations possible, vs. starting the process with a specialist.
Your PCP is specialized and highly trained in adult healthcare, and they can do many of the exams that a specialist can.
If, in the case your PCP thinks you need a specialist during your visit, they’ll recommend the best one for you based on their knowledge of who you are. What’s great about this process is that know your PCP is aware and communicating with your specialist. Learn more about Think Specialists.
✅ Yes: Going to your PCP before a specialist increases communication and collaboration.
2. Your life is for living – so protect your health with regular visits to your PCP.
Life is meant to be spent at your sister’s birthday party, splurging on that watch you really wanted, reading a great book in your favorite chair in your living room, and going out to dinner with your friends.
We like to see you when you’re well – and keep you that way! When you visit your PCP regularly, the chances of you maintaining the lifestyle you want increase significantly.
Sure, visiting your PCP regularly may be more money now. It’s proven that regular, preventative check-ups with your PCP equate to significantly less spent in the future and less suffering during your life.
Because of the overseer role your PCP and their team play in your whole health, regular visits to your PCP vs. sporadic visits to specialists prevents miscommunications in medication and treatments that lead to those expensive treatments and ER visits down the road.
❗▶ Fact: One of the top reasons for hospitalization is medication error. Check out Think Pharmacy’s 5-step, ThinkSync Medication Plan.
✅ Did we make our point? We think so: Your life is for living – so protect your health with regular visits to your PCP.
These two reasons to let your PCP manage your whole health are all the more important when you have more than one chronic condition, which many Think patients do.
Care management of chronic conditions is something we specialize in. At Think, we’ve got nurses, called Care Coordinators, who create, communicate and help execute your personalized care plan – along with a team that includes your Primary Care Physician, their nurses and pharmacist.
To sum it up, avoiding medical error and being the healthiest you can be are both reasons why you should see your Primary Care Physician first and often.
If you feel like you’re for sure smarter at this point, consider becoming a patient at Think!