If you have a medical need — sudden flu symptoms, nagging back pain, an unanticipated rash — who is your first point of contact?
A family physician can be the correct answer for most healthcare issues.
A medical emergency is an exception. An emergency is a legitimate reason to visit an emergency room, not a family clinic— but a lot of Americans use the ER or urgent care as their main source of care. It’s one cause among many we spend more as a country on healthcare than anybody else, but still rank far from the top in health outcomes.
Using more principal care physicians — as well as family doctors — can assist. Here are just a few of the payback for you and your family.
Family Doctors Track Your Life Cycle
I treat children. I care for teens and those in their 20s. I take care of middle-aged adults, retirees and individuals well into their 90s. I frequently see these same people for years or even decades.
That’s usual of family practitioners. Given that family doctors care for a wide range of situations, they can be your main care physicians at any point in your life.
In the long run, that means you can make a lasting connection with a family physician. And having such a relationship means.
They Know about Your History
When doctors assist you for a long time, they get to identify your medical history all throughout. That helps them make precise diagnoses, watch for red flags about medications and keep an eye on changes in your health through the years.
But the “family” in family doctor matters, too. Seeing numerous generations of a family can aid a doctor record a precise, in-depth family health history. for instance, if I know you had cancer at a young age, and so did your parents, that’s a red flag. I will advise genetic counseling and propose a screening plan not only for you but also for other relatives at risk.
The medical record is just part of the picture. Occasionally it helps to know what’s happening at home, too. When treating a youngster whose parent just lost a job, for example, that information comes into play when assessing anxiety and unease.
When doctors take care of you for years, they get to know your medical history all throughout.
Family Doctors Treat Further Than You Think
Yes, family doctors do your annual check-up and see you in the family clinic. However, they also can help you manage chronic situations such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. They can treat sensitive situations such as sinus infections and injuries. They can assist you through a pregnancy.
They also can carry out minor surgical procedures, sometimes even done in a family clinic, such as freezing a wart or draining an abscess. These are but a few examples, and it goes a long way.
When You Need a Professional, They Assist to Find the Right Fit
When you want to see a professional for heart disease, cancer or any other serious concern, a family doctor can assist to find somebody who fits your exact needs — and character.
For Example: Say I have a patient who wishes to see a cardiologist. I know from years of experience this person prefers conventional treatments. That means I’ll look for for a cardiologist who takes a conventional-first approach somewhat than someone known for insistent treatment.
They Can Save Lives — and Save You Money
There’s more than enough evidence — equally here in America and abroad — that using more principal care saves money for a healthcare system.
For example, according to an insurance study, a 23% boost in primary care expenditure in Rhode Island led to an 18% decrease in total healthcare expenditure.
And data suggests that adding up one principal care physician (such as a family doctor and a family clinic) for every 10,000 individuals can lower hospital admission by 5.5%, emergency room visit by 11% and surgery by 11%.
Those numbers are all the more striking than cost savings. Family doctors can definitely save the nation money, but more significant, they can offer your family improved health.