Primary care physicians (PCPs) of Edward Medical Group offer numerous benefits -- read more.
Primary care physician a partner in health
Feb. 2, 2011
Managing your health without having a primary care physician is like flying an airplane without submitting a flight plan or contacting the control tower. If you crash and survive you'll likely get help, but if you'd taken the normal safety measures you might have prevented the crash altogether.
"Some people first seek medical care when they have a heart attack or stroke or end stage colon cancer," says Sanjeeb Khatua, a family practice physician with Edward Medical Group in Plainfield. "At this point it may be too late. But if their high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels or cancer symptoms had been detected early, the outcome could have been different."
PCPs include internists who focus on treating adults; family care practitioners, who care for patients from infancy through old age; and pediatricians, who specialize in patients 18 and younger. And, some women choose an obstetrician/gynecologist as their primary care physician. Prevention and early detection of disease are primary benefits of maintaining a relationship with a PCP.
Based on your health status and history, your PCP can guide you in developing healthy habits and put you on a schedule of screenings to identify problems early, when they're most treatable. Mammograms, colonoscopies, and blood tests for cholesterol and glucose are among the most common screenings.
Khatua says PCPs also help navigate the health care system, whether recommending a less expensive medication option or making a referral.
"We refer patients to medical specialists, physical therapists, dietitians and other resources we know who keep us informed. This way we're all supporting the patient's health goals together."
There are practical issues to consider when selecting a primary care physician. Is the doctor in your insurance company's network of providers? Is the practice accepting new patients? Is the doctor on the medical staff of your preferred hospital? Is the office conveniently located? What kind of after-hours coverage is provided? Is it difficult to get a return phone call?
What's the most important factor in your choice?
"There are many qualified doctors, all practicing evidence-based medicine, but the critical issue is how comfortable you are with a particular physician," Khatua says. "If you trust the doctor enough to share details of your lifestyle, as well as your family and work life, he or she will be better able to understand your health and what's affecting it, as well as what treatments would work best for you. And, if you feel good about your physician, you're more likely to schedule regular visits and to follow up on the doctor's recommendations."
How do you find this ideal fit? Consider scheduling an initial "getting acquainted" appointment with a potential provider, possibly in connection with a minor check-up. Ask the office staff what fees might be involved in this type of visit.
Working together with your primary care physician, you'll have a better chance at a more trouble-free journey to a healthier you.
Submitted by Edward Hospital
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services