A patient’s relationship with their primary care physician is an important one, and it can last decades. However, relationships can also be short, due to changes in insurance plans or a move. Regardless of the reason for change, a patient should choose a physician they trust and who meets their health needs. Additionally, the physician must be in-network for the patient’s health insurance plan. That way, the doctor and patient can continue to work together.
Primary care physicians prevent, diagnose, and treat a broad range of medical conditions
A primary care physician is an interdisciplinary health professional trained to provide comprehensive care to a wide variety of patients. Their expertise does not depend on the cause or organ system of the problem. They can diagnose and treat most acute illnesses, as well as help patients prevent the need for specialists. In addition, they can refer patients to specialists whenever necessary. These doctors are often the first point of contact for patients.
Among their many duties, primary care physicians prevent, diagnose, and treat varying degrees of illness, including those caused by injury, surgery, and chronic diseases. They also coordinate care among different health care settings. The IOM’s definition of a primary care clinician reflects this broad role. The physician must address a wide range of health problems and act as the patient’s advocate within the larger health care system.
They provide healthy lifestyle promotion, disease prevention, patient education, and weight management
While medical professionals have many roles to play in the healthcare system, the primary role of the primary care physician is to encourage healthy lifestyles and promote proper weight management. Over two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and almost 35 percent are obese. Obesity is associated with many of the leading causes of death and poor health outcomes, and it disproportionately affects low-income and minority groups.
While primary care physicians provide many hours of care, their efforts to promote healthy living have not been enough to lead to modest weight loss. Most obesity treatment methods delivered in primary care settings are of limited effectiveness. The low intensity of these treatments, which are typically delivered in quarterly or monthly visits, may be a barrier to their success. In this regard, primary care physicians should focus more on improving communication with patients.
They treat chronic conditions
A primary care physician can help patients manage their chronic health conditions. Many people with chronic illnesses must see several specialists over the course of their lifetime, each requiring different types of testing and prescriptions. These doctors will often prescribe home care for patients, too, so that they can better manage their condition. This way, patients can minimize the burden of treatment while remaining healthy. But how do you choose a primary care physician for your condition? Read on to learn more.
Approximately seventy percent of US physicians have subspecialized training in specific diseases. That means that many patients aren’t getting the comprehensive care they need. In addition, the current healthcare system doesn’t prioritize the needs of patients, making primary care physicians less effective at managing chronic conditions. Almost half of all US physicians don’t have the time to devote to chronic illness management. And because of this, they’re under enormous pressure from insurance companies.
They provide high-value care
Many health insurers reward high-value primary care physicians. These providers give their patients more time and attention than physicians in other settings. They also provide more advanced services, such as genetic counseling. Millennials are particularly likely to prefer urgent-care centers or retail-based walk-in clinics. Besides convenience, they value affordability and connectivity. Here are some of the factors that help determine high-value primary care physicians.
In 2008, primary care practices earned 38 billion dollars in revenue. That same year, there were 25 percent fewer office visits. They also had lower collections rates, with a five to ten percent decline. That’s because primary care physicians didn’t make enough money from their patients. Additionally, costs per primary care physician per intervention tend to be higher in rural areas and in areas with less than half the number of physicians. In addition, populations with low socioeconomic status typically experience lower outcomes.