A primary care physician (PCP) is a health care provider and medical doctor who sees patients for continued care. A PCP performs all general services and knows the health history of their patients better than any other doctor.
A visit to your PCP is commonly the first step for common and chronic conditions. They also make referrals to specialists. Some people refer to them as general practitioners or family doctors.
Q. Why should I have a Primary Care Physician?
A. Medical care can be complex and unfamiliar, and a PCP can be invaluable in guiding you through the system, ensuring the right care is being sought and delivered at the right time and in the right place. Things are not always as they appear, and everyone has their own set of unique circumstances and nuances, so a primary care physician or an advanced practice provider, such as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, can tailor the specifics of care for the individual.
Q. What should I look for in a PCP?
A. People should look for a PCP they can communicate well with, create a professional relationship with and trust. Look for a PCP who takes the time to inquire about your personal and family life before discussing your medical condition and health. And ask yourself if your PCP answers your questions thoroughly and in a way you can understand.
Q. What are some of the things a PCP can do?
A. In addition to caring for you when you’re ill and providing preventive care, PCPs can help you sift through the misinformation out there that is readily accessible and can be overwhelming, conflicting and confusing. They are a tremendous resource. They can also look at recommendations through a broad lens, rather than a narrow, specialty biased lens.
Q. What should a parent look for when finding a PCP for their child?
A. Regarding pediatrics, I feel flexibility needs to be appropriate, not that they be willing to not recommend medical standards of care, but flexibility in how that care is delivered. Immunization schedules are a great example as more parents are delaying some shots until their kids are closer to elementary school age or spacing out shots in more frequent office visits.
Q. Any other advice regarding the importance of having a PCP?
A. A long-term relationship with a PCP who gets to know you and cares for you can certainly help ease your way when troubled times occur.
To find an OSF HealthCare Medical Group PCP, start by finding a location near you.