Do you have a primary care physician? Many American adults do not. As a result a lot of people end up in the emergency room. There are a lot of reasons this is a bad thing. This is one of the most expensive ways you can receive medical care. According to he Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the average expenses for people who have been to the emergency room more than once were $1,319 in 2009. That same year they also found that the median expenses for these people were $615. The waiting time is long and it is just getting longer. Between 2003 and 2009, the wait time grew by 25%. It went from about 47 minutes to just over 58 minutes. Even if you are admitted to the hospital, you may have to wait in the hallway for an extended period of time while a bed becomes available. In 2008, nearly 80% of all hospitals admitted they do this with patients. If you do not have a regular doctor you see, you may want to look at primary care physician reviews to find one.
Having a primary care doctor is not high on the list of things that need to be done for many American adults. Healthy people tend to think that they do not need to see a doctor once a year for check ups and are not sure where to go to find a good doctor. Whether you go online to look at primary care physician reviews or get referrals from your friends or family, there are a number of reasons why you should have your own primary care doctor.
Reasons to Have a Primary Care Doctor:
They know you. When you go in for regular check ups with family care providers or primary care doctors, they get to know you. They get to know what “normal” means for you. There are basic ranges that are considered to be normal but they are general numbers and are not specific to you. A “normal” blood pressure reading can be 120/80 but that may not be “normal” for you. When you see a doctor over a period of time, your primary care doctor will know you pretty well. They will be able to catch problems before they become huge health issues for you.
They can help you manage chronic conditions. If you suffer from any kinds of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, your primary care physician can get and keep you as healthy as you can be. They will know how to prevent complications and help you through any that come up.
They can be the quarterback of your healthcare team. Do you see any specialists? Many people do have to add specialists to their health care team. If that is the case for you, you will get better care if your primary care doctor is there, acting like the quarterback of your health care team. As you add specialists to your roster, having one doctor coordinating all of your tests and medications will mean that you get better health care overall.
They can tell you when you need to go to the emergency room. If and when emergencies come up, your primary care physician can tell you when you absolutely need to go to the emergency room. If you have an after hours injury or illness, only 29% of general practice doctors have offices that are open after hours, you can call your primary care physician and they will let you know if you need to be seen in an emergency room or if you can go to a walk in health clinic for treatment. Often people can be seen at after hours urgent care centers when they cannot wait until their doctor’s office opens but who do not need an emergency room. Many times urgent care facilities can help with minor injuries and common illnesses. When you look at primary care physician reviews, you can see what kind of hours are offered by the different practices.
Whether you have found your doctor from looking at primary care physician reviews or some other method, having a regular doctor has real health benefits.