Health Hub: Why Everyone Needs a Primary Care Physician
You may be a busy professional with a crazy schedule; a working parent who can barely keep up with your kids’ medical appointments, much less your own; a young person who’s never had a serious health issue; or perhaps you’re just new to the area and haven’t gotten around to choosing a doctor yet.
You know you’re “supposed to” have a primary care physician (PCP), but the truth is you’re not sure why.
After all, if you break your arm, you’ll just go to the emergency room. If you get the flu, you can always seek treatment at one of the urgent care or walk-in clinics around town. Heck, your local pharmacy might even offer basic medical services. So what’s the big deal about having a PCP?
A doctor who knows you can be much more effective in keeping you healthy.
“A physician you see over time has baseline information on your overall health that no one else does,” says Kirk Hutjens, MD, a board-certified internal medicine physician in Winter Park. “Because we collect regular records of our patients’ immunizations, vital signs and other health measures, we can more easily pinpoint when something is not right.”
Dr. Hutjens adds that patients are also more likely to mention an emerging health concern or ask a question about their health when they have an ongoing relationship with their doctor. “This means you’re more likely to receive treatment for a problem that might otherwise have gone unnoticed, with possible long-term consequences.”
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
A big part of what PCPs do is preventive care – including regular health screenings for things like high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and so much more. Having regular checkups with your PCP can help you avoid preventable illnesses, and help ensure that a potentially serious health issue is caught early, when treatment can be most effective.
A PCP ensures consistent, coordinated care that benefits YOU.
If you receive medical care from a number of providers, your PCP is the one who will keep track of your medications to ensure they are all working together, serving as the hub in a comprehensive network of care. “Primary care physicians work closely with your specialists to be sure everyone is on the same page in terms of your treatment plan,” Dr. Hutjens says. “By being a central point of contact for other providers, we can make sure our patients avoid potentially unnecessary or duplicate health testing.”
Benefits of PCP Care
Regular appointments with your primary care physician can benefit you in many ways, including the following:
- Avoidance of preventable illness
- Opportunity to build rapport, ask questions and bring up any health concerns
- Coordination of prescription medications
- “Baseline” point of reference for when something is amiss
Kirk Hutjens, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine physician in Winter Park. He has a particular interest in treating patients with hypertension, diabetes and osteoporosis. Learn more at FHMedicalGroup.com or call (407) 988-2226.
Florida Hospital Medical Group is the Orlando area’s most comprehensive multi-specialty medical group practice with more than 425 board-certified physicians and surgeons in more than 40 medical specialties.