The question is often asked, why do you need a general practitioner or a primary care physician? People who are generally healthy and rarely see a doctor question the need for specifying a general practitioner. In recent years, many have made the choice to forgo a primary care physician and instead go to urgent care or a retail clinic when non-emergency medical treatment is needed. But a general practitioner is the primary physician you should visit for most medical needs, including wellness visits and routine screenings, non-emergency illnesses like earaches and sore throats, and the person you speak to about all your health questions and concerns. Team SJB wants you to live your healthiest life, so we urge you to read through some of the advantages of having a general practitioner below. It is an important relationship!
Advantages of Having a General Practitioner or Primary Care Physician:
- It is better for your health to build a lasting relationship with a physician. Over time, they will learn the nuances of your medical history, your reaction to medications, your health goals, and your lifestyle. This comprehensive knowledge will guide their recommendations to keep you at your healthiest as you age.
- Oftentimes if you do not have an established relationship with a primary care physician, it can be nearly impossible to get an appointment in a timely manner. Plus, there are many things that can be taken care of over the phone when you have an established relationship with a physician’s office.
- Because different medications are often prescribed by different doctors, there’s always a chance of side effects when the drugs interact with each other. A primary care physician can serve as gatekeeper by keeping track of all medications a patient takes, noting any changes in dosages or frequency that could cause negative side effects.
- A primary care physician can help you find the right specialist when needed. Your primary care physician also collaborates with other doctors and healthcare professionals, to keep track of any specialty care that a patient needs.
- Routine screenings will keep you healthier by catching symptoms before they lead to debilitating health issues. A general practitioner will know you well enough to ask the right questions and detect health issues in their early stages.
Tips for Finding a General Practitioner or Primary Care Physician
- The website or portal of your insurance is a great place to start as you will want to determine which physicians are “in-network”. Many insurance groups negotiate special discounted rates with certain doctors and hospitals. Finding an “in-network” primary care physician means you will pay less money out-of-pocket for your visits.
- Seek out general practitioners who are assisted by nurse practitioners or physician assistants in their office. These team members are well equipped to deal with most situations and can coordinate with other members of the care team as needed. Using an office with a larger team means appointments will be easier to come by.
- Ask for referrals from family and friends. It can make you feel more comfortable to visit a physician who is recommended by a family member, co-worker, or friend. Plus, many times the people in your circle will know if their physician is accepting new patients.
- Remember that just because a physician is perfect for your neighbor or your best friend, that doesn’t mean that they are going to be right for you. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends asking yourself the following questions after your first appointment:
- Do you feel at ease with the physician?
- Did the physician show an interest in getting to know you?
- Were all of your questions answered?
- Did they explain things in a way that you understood?
These are only a few examples of the many benefits to establishing a relationship with a general practitioner or a primary care physician. Team SJB is your resource for all types of health insurance and we are here to help with any questions you need answered. We partner with all top-rated carriers to help families in the Atlanta Metro and West Georgia areas live their healthiest lives.