What is a primary care center and how can you benefit from this type of medical practice? Do you need to see a doctor, but you're not sure which provider to call? Take a look at what you need to know about primary care practices and your healthcare options.
Primary Care Is Your First Step
Do you think you might need to see a specialist? Whether you have persistent pain, a questionably chronic condition, or a potentially complex medical issue that may require specialized knowledge, if this is the first time you've seen a doctor for this problem, or you don't know which specialist is the right one, start with a primary care physician.
Even though primary care doctors are generalists, these physicians can evaluate problems, recommend testing, and refer patients to specialists. Not only can the primary care physician tell you which type of specialist you need to see, they may also provide you with the name of a qualified doctor in your area. This eliminates the need for you to search for specialists on your own.
Primary Care Isn't Just for When You're Sick
You shouldn't wait to call your primary care physician until you have a fever, cough, or another physical symptom. While this type of doctor can treat a variety of illnesses and common conditions, they also see patients who are well. A well visit is a preventative appointment that provides a general evaluation.
A well visit includes a physical examination, screenings, and other preventative options. The specific services you receive during this visit depends on your age, overall health, medical concerns, and past health history. The doctor may order blood tests or recommend additional screenings that they don't offer in their office. These could include a colonoscopy, mammogram, or other imaging study.
Primary Care Provides Immunizations
Along with an exam and testing/screenings, the primary care physician may offer you immunizations. The doctor will review your vaccination history and recommend immunizations you may need right now. Specific vaccinations vary by age group, medical risk, and past immunization history. You may need some immunizations, such as the flu vaccine, annually. But you may not need others as often – such as Tdap or tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis – which require boosters every 10 years.
If you're not sure about which vaccinations are right for you or which ones you have/haven't had, talk to your primary care physician about the recommended adult schedule for these shots. The medical provider can help you to choose the best protection for your healthcare needs.
For more information, contact a primary care center in your area.