Primary care—or general care—gives us a foundation we can build on to successfully manage our health and wellness. But it often gets overlooked.
Why? Sometimes, when life is busy, it’s easy to skip seeing your primary care physician until you need to—like when you’re out sick with the flu or have an injury, like a sprained ankle.
Or maybe you don’t have a regular doctor at all. Instead, you may just rely on urgent or emergency care as needs pop up.
But having a primary care doctor (and seeing them regularly) can help further your health now and into the future. They’re there to help you treat common illnesses, manage acute care, monitor ongoing conditions, prescribe medications you need and more.
This year, National Primary Care Physician’s Week is October 4–10. So, we’re taking a closer look at what makes primary care so important!
Here are a few things that make this type of care stand out:
- You can receive all-in-one care—conveniently. With your primary physician, it’s easy to take care of many health needs at once. You can schedule a visit for your annual physical, when you feel a cold coming on, or to treat general aches and pains. And you can find out about recommended vaccines, upcoming screenings you need or other health concerns.
- You can get a referral. Your doctor can connect you to specialists when you need them. This could include dermatologists, cardiologists, allergy specialists, mental health professionals and many others. They’ll also help coordinate information between health care providers.
- You’ll get help for your existing conditions. Many chronic diseases and conditions are too difficult to manage on your own. Your primary care physician will schedule routine tests, prescribe medications and give advice for handling diabetes, arthritis, heart conditions, musculoskeletal pain—or other conditions you’re dealing with.
- It’s effective for early detection. Your primary doctor will be able to spot health issues early-on through regular checkups. This is important for catching things before they progress—such as cancer, or kidney disease. It’s also key for improving certain biometric factors, like weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.
- You can build a trusted relationship. When you go to the doctor regularly, you’ll be able to form a strong relationship over time. So, you’ll be able to communicate open and honestly, get comfortable asking questions and feel at ease with your level of care. And you’ll have someone you trust in your corner, helping you make the best decisions for your health.
Finding in-network primary care
Do you need help locating a primary care physician in your area—and in your network? If you’re a Meritain Health® member, you can search our online directory or log in to your member website. Or simply call the number on the back of your ID card.
Also, be sure to check out upcoming articles to learn more about primary care and other important health topics!
This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice.