Why is primary care so important?
Primary care is the first step in almost any healthcare journey and the place to get back to after an acute – or urgent – situation.
Different care settings provide different kinds of support. Emergency visits or hospital stays can meet someone’s immediate or acute needs. Primary care is geared to help you for the long haul through your everyday health needs.
By design, primary care is the “go-to” resource for helping people and families with a wide range of health issues throughout their lives. You might consider it your “home base.”
Regular checkups with a primary care provider, or PCP, are the gateway to good health — sometimes preventing more complex illnesses from developing, identifying concerning health risks early, and building a partnership toward a healthier life.
Primary care is vital not only for individuals, but also for the health of the entire community. Among the myriad benefits, here are four key aspects of what primary care providers do:
- Partner in sickness and in health. When you’re injured or don’t feel well, your primary care provider can help you start to feel better or connect you to a specialist who can. When you’re healthy, your PCP can help you set health goals and provide health education personalized to your concerns.
- Help manage chronic conditions. If you have one or more conditions that need careful management such as diabetes or heart disease, your PCP can help you understand your medications or treatment steps and highlight healthy habits to put into practice.
- Offer insights on medical news. PCPs stay up on news and other developments in medicine, such as pharmaceuticals, vaccinations and diagnostic and treatment options. You can talk to your PCP to learn more about medical news of interest to you.
- Identify and respond to notable trends. Because PCPs see patients of various ages, conditions and backgrounds from the same geographic area, their offices are often the first to notice and treat spikes in influenza or other common illnesses affecting the community. In this way, primary care serves the health of the public as well as the health of individual patients.
How can you make the most of primary care in your own life?
- Visit your provider for a regular check-up. In general, “regular” means once a year. That’s helpful for many people; however, some patients should be seen more often while others might need to be seen less. Talk with your provider about what’s right for you. Keep in mind, this might change as you get older or as new health issues develop.
- Schedule preventive care when it is due:
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Stay current on recommended vaccinations
- Get recommended screenings, including blood tests.
- Get care when you need care. In an ideal world, patients see their same PCP for all visits, but if you can’t schedule with your PCP for an immediate need, ask the clinic about scheduling with a provider who can get you in sooner. Your PCP will be able to access those visit notes in a future appointment so they can still stay on top of your care.
- Use My PeaceHealth patient portal to easily manage your medical care. This online tool gives you access to your health information from all providers and services you’ve experienced at PeaceHealth. It also gives you the means to schedule appointments, message your doctor, request medication refills, pay your bill, request financial assistance, review your health history and more. Learn about My PeaceHealth.
Contact PeaceHealth to find a provider accepting new patients so that you can begin a journey of long-term wellness.