Today there is a large primary care gap, meaning that there are not enough primary care physicians available in the healthcare field. Other healthcare professionals such as nurse practitioners (NP) are trying to close this gap, by implementing primary care into their practices. Primary care visits and physicals are important, and without them, our health would not be cared for.
Studies in various medical journals such as the International Journal of Health Services have revealed that people in states with more primary care physicians have better outcomes with their health, including fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease, or stroke. A separate study in the same journal suggests that having a primary care physician (PCP) helps promote a higher quality of life, a longer life span, and fewer premature deaths.
Plato stated, “For the part can never be well unless the whole is well.” This ancient philosophy says that our body is made up of symbiotic parts, and if one part is compromised or not working at its optimal level, other factors will be affected, and can negatively impact someone’s overall health. Holistic healthcare is known as an integrated care approach, emphasizing this notion that the mind and body dynamic is strongly linked to our health and wellness. A physician of holistic health treats the patient as a “whole,” meaning the connection between the mind and body is treated as a unit.
Primary care physicians care tactic is very much patient-centered and holistic. Rather than simply evaluating the patient’s symptoms, giving a diagnosis, and providing treatment for one part of the body, your primary care provider takes into consideration these other external factors, and thoroughly investigates the various aspects of the patient’s lifestyle. When treating someone who is ill, they focus not just on the treatment of symptoms itself, but on getting to the root of what is actually causing the imbalance and disease. Afterwards, a treatment plan is created for the patient’s needs, to help them reach their optimal level of wellness, thus, making them “whole” again.
Your primary care physician focuses on what is known in the medical field as “continuity of care.” What continuity of care means is that these PCPs establish a relationship with their patients, and that relationship enhances year after year. In other words, your primary care physician becomes sort of like family, in some cases a part of a patient’s life from a very young age. This provider gets to know you and your health goals, and helps you manage your overall progress. Continuity provides various benefits that have been linked and proven to result in better health outcomes.
In the short term, continuity of care dramatically increases the likelihood that you’ll receive a correct and accurate diagnosis, and be provided with a personal treatment plan. Your primary care physician does gain valuable information over time, and as they get to know you on a personal level, they can be attentive, and can make treatment decisions accordingly.
Your PCP is a provider who knows your health history, your habits, and your personality, and therefore, can more easily recognize signs that indicate a potential change in your health. For example, if you complain of fatigue to a doctor who doesn’t know you, you might not be taken seriously and get the personalized care that you desperately need. Your primary care doctor is an advocate for you, a support system, who will be able to see that you aren’t your usual self, or vice versa, and tell you that everything is alright.
If you need further opinions and special treatment, your primary care physician can refer you to see a specialist, someone they know and with whom they have a collaborative relationship. If you have concerns about getting different suggestions from different specialists, your primary care physician can help you sort through and prioritize which suggestions to act on first. Your primary care physician has a working relationship with their referrals and keeps track of your care with them.
Setting up a relationship with a consistent provider can help you get care more quickly should you get sick in the future, whether it’s a sinus infection or something more serious. Your PCP knows your medical history, and therefore, will be there when your need them, on a personal basis, and can even help you resolve things over the phone or via email, depending on the provider.
If you come in for routine physicals and check-ups, instead of only coming in when you’re sick, your primary care provider can help educate you about your health and prevent chronic illnesses down the line. This is considered proactive and preventive at the same time.
At SC Internal Medicine Associates & Rehabilitation, our mission is to support and advance your wellbeing through a lifelong relationship of supportive care. We provide comprehensive, compassionate, and effective care for all of our patients.
Let us help you today, for a lasting and better tomorrow. Please call (803) 749-1111, or use our secure online appointment request form.