Why Are Primary Care Physicians So Important?
According to Merriam-Webster, the word primary can mean: first in order, of great importance or basic/fundamental. With this in mind, primary care physicians are one of the first, most important doctors on the front lines of healthcare. This is because they are often the first doctors to detect potential health problems – both physical and psychological.
While it is true that a primary care doctor can diagnose and treat ailments such as the flu, headaches, urinary infections, bronchitis – as well as perform minor surgical procedures and provide vaccinations/immunizations – they do so much more. Regular routine check-ups allow your doctor to monitor the progression of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, sinus infections, injuries, pregnancy, depression, addiction, etc. In fact, the more connected you stay with your primary care physician, the better equipped they will be to detect warning signs of potential health issues before they become severe and require advanced treatment. A primary care physician will also recommend preventative screenings such as mammograms or prostate cancer so you can stay proactive with your health.
The Financial Importance
Visiting a primary care physician, instead of a specialist, saves on healthcare costs (one study reported by the National Library of Medicine suggested 33% lower annual adjusted health care expenditures). It has been suggested that the U.S. could save $67 billion every year if everyone saw a primary care doctor first, rather than going directly to a specialist.
According to reports in Primary Care Progress:
- “Access to primary care helps keep people out of emergency rooms, where care costs at least four times as much as other outpatient care. A study in a North Carolina ER found that nearly 60% of the patients’ problems could have been addressed in a primary care clinic for a savings of a whopping 320-720% – that’s a value of three to seven times less.”
Choosing the Right Primary Team
Primary care doctors typically work as a team to provide well-rounded health care. They may have a team of physician assistants, registered nurses, nurse practitioners and patient care coordinators who are available to help you through any health issue. If the treatment is outside their professional scope, they will help direct you toward the best specialists to expand your care.
With so much on the line, you may be wondering how to choose the best primary care physician for your unique needs. The best way is to schedule appointments to meet the team in person. Ask family and friends for referrals, but make sure YOU feel comfortable with the office and confident in the abilities of the medical team.
Westgate Family Physicians are a team of primary care doctors in Spartanburg, SC, that have been serving our community with compassionate, Christian faith-based health care since 1977. We consider it a privilege to form strong doctor/patient bonds; it is these bonds that allow us to provide the right diagnosis, treatment or specialist referrals to restore our patients’ health.
If you are looking for a primary care physician in Spartanburg, schedule an appointment with us today. Please call (864) 574-0070 or click here.