While you probably don’t characterize your Primary Care Physician
(PCP) as your best friend, there is probably no one who knows you as well.
What does a PCP do? PCPs keep track of your full health history, chart
when you’ve been sick, record what allergies you may have, monitor
your lifestyle habits, and remember what diseases you or your family members
have had, so that they can suggest ways to prevent you from getting ill.
They keep you well by making sure you are
up-to-date on your screenings and immunizations, provide advice to prevent illnesses and disease, and monitor your health
to help you feeling your best. Your PCP takes care of the whole you over
the course of your entire life, creates a wellness plan to keep you healthy,
and treats you if you get sick.
A Primary Care Physician is also called:
- Family Practice Doctor
- Internal Medicine Doctor
- General Practitioner
What does a PCP do?
- Provides a first point of contact for any health needs
- Follows you through all stages of your life
- Conducts wellness exams
- Administers or oversees routine screenings
They focus on the whole person, not just a disease, with an empasis on wellness.
Reduce Healthcare Costs
PCPs also treat non-emergency illnesses, answer questions and concerns,
and coordinate care with specialists when needed. They perform minor surgeries,
serve as your advocate, and can reduce your healthcare costs.
Patients who have a primary care provider have fewer diagnostic tests,
fewer prescriptions, and fewer visits to the hospital or emergency room.
Research shows that access to primary care is associated with better overall
control of chronic diseases, such as asthma and high blood pressure.
If you don't already have a PCP, find one by:
- Asking friends and family for recommendations
- Interviewing physicians to find one you are comfortable with
Mary Washington Medical Group has several family practice and primary care
practices serving patients all over our area.
MWMG Family and Internal Medicine - Bowling Green
MWMG Family Medicine - Lee's Hill and Cosner's Corner
MWMG Family Medicine and Pediatrics - Ruther Glen
MWMG Primary Care - South Stafford
Starfield, B., Shi, L., and Macinko, J. “Contribution of Primary
Care to Health Systems and Health,” Milbank Quarterly, 2005 Sep;