Why You Need a Primary Care Provider

A primary care provider can and should be a patient’s strongest ally in maintaining and achieving optimal health. Unlike a specialist - a dermatologist, cardiologist, etc. - a primary care provider or PCP understands the patient’s health history in a broader and comprehensive way.

This big picture understanding of a patient’s health over the course of many years sets the foundation for a relationship focused on mutual respect and trust. With this in place, a PCP can guide a patient toward healthy choices and support them in living a more robust life.

Why you need a primary care provider.

Rose J. Griffin, M.D., M.P.H., of Meritus Primary Care, located at Meritus Medical Plaza, is a family medicine doctor and primary care provider. Dr. Griffin is trained to treat patients of all ages, which helps her develop long-lasting relationships.

“One week, I might see a patient who is four-days old and another a patient who is 92,” she says. “The training of a primary care provider, especially those of us focusing on family medicine, is so comprehensive that we can treat a wide array of issues.”

A main benefit to having a PCP is the consistency of a provider who fully understands a patient, from his health background to his full blood panel, his allergies to his illnesses.

Frequently, basic issues and minor problems can be effectively treated in-office by a PCP, thereby saving a patient time and money without sacrificing quality of care.

“Primary care providers have training and the required experience in every aspect of human health, which helps us effectively treat a wide variety of health issues,” says Dr. Griffin.

They work well with others.

Dr. Griffin explains that a primary care provider should be the go-to, first stop for a variety of ailments and especially health maintenance needs, including yearly physicals and disease-screening exams. They do, however, work closely with others in the health care arena when needs get more complicated.

Primary care providers can offer essential information on what’s normal in terms of health for their patients when specialists get involved in something found to be “abnormal” – diseases and illnesses.

When patients go to a hospital these days, they commonly receive care from a hospitalist – a doctor dedicated to the care of patients in a hospital. The hospitalist becomes an important point of contact for a patient’s PCP and specialists – and another important and necessary relationship for primary care providers to make.

Finding your own primary care provider.

If you don’t have a PCP already, it can be somewhat overwhelming to know where to begin in finding the right person for your needs.

Dr. Griffin advises patients to consider what they want in a primary care provider or office –

  • Is location of the office important?
  • Are available hours most important?
  • Do you want someone familiar with your specific health care needs – pediatrics? geriatrics?
  • Is the personality of the provider your greatest concern?

No matter who you select as your PCP, Dr. Griffin says to “take advantage of having a primary care provider who knows you and get that annual wellness check so that he/she can find all that’s unique to your health.”