The importance of having a primary care provider

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ďI donít need a primary care provider, Iím healthy. Only children need routine checkups, not adultsĒ

Sentiments like these represent a few of the misconceptions surrounding family medicine or primary care medicine. The truth is, having a Primary Care Provider (PCP) and having routine visits is extremely beneficial to not only children, but also to adult health and wellness.

Research has found that patients with a PCP have a higher level of satisfaction with their care, better management of chronic diseases, are at a decreased risk of premature death, and have overall lower health care costs.

Having a PCP also allows you access to a wide spectrum of health services including chronic care for conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma; preventative care, such as cancer screenings; and acute care for symptoms such as urinary tract infections, cough or rash.

Establishing care with a PCP provides you with consistency and efficiency on a number of levels. Having a provider that is familiar with you and the intricacies of your health and wellness saves you time as you wonít need to repeatedly explain or remember any medical history or medications that you are currently or have previously taken.

Being familiar with you also allows your provider to look at the whole picture of your health rather than just addressing acute concerns as they arise. The PCPís goal is to deliver care that is personalized and right for you not only today but for your future.

So when is the right time to seek care with a PCP? The answer is now. If you havenít already, consider doing some research and picking a primary care provider who is right for you. The familiarity youíll experience and the continuity of care youíll receive will not only help you feel better and live longer but also allow you to receive the care you deserve.

Riki Thompson is a primary care provider at Cabinet Peaks Family Medicine.

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