When you have an acute medical need like sudden cold or flu symptoms, piercing back pain, or even a weird rash, who should you call first? The answer for many healthcare issues is to call a family physician.
The exception to this is, of course, medical emergencies. Medical emergencies require an immediate visit to the emergency room. The problem with this is that the emergency room or urgent care center is the primary source of care for many people. In fact, this is one reason why we as a country spend more on healthcare than anyone else, and why we rank far below the top in overall health. Finding and using a family medicine doctor for you and your family can help this situation. Continue reading for the benefits of having a family physician.
1. Family Doctors Stay With You For Life
Family medicine physicians can treat infants, toddlers, children, teenagers and adults. It is not uncommon for a family medicine doctor to see their patients for decades of their lives. Since these physicians have the skills to treat a wide range of medical conditions, they can be your primary care doctor at any point in your life. This helps you build a great relationship with your physician that will last a lifetime.
2. Family Doctors Learn Your History & Your Family History
When a doctor is able to treat you for years of your life, they develop a keen understanding of you and your medical history. This helps your doctor to make accurate diagnoses and monitor you more closely for any changes or red flags in your health screenings.
In addition to keeping track of your medical history, a family doctor can understand what is happening in their patients’ home lives. For example, if a child’s parent just lost their job, the physician can accurately assess the child’s stress and anxiety.
3. Family Doctors Do More Than Just Yearly Exams
While family medicine doctors perform your yearly check-ups, they also are there to help you navigate chronic medical issues such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and arthritis. They can also treat your acute medical conditions like injuries and many infections, help you through stressful times and keep you well throughout.
4. When You Need a Specialist, They’ll Find The Best One For You
Sometimes issues arise that require consultation with or care from a specialist. These can include serious issues like heart disease and cancer. When you or someone in your family develops one of these conditions, your family physician can find someone who fits your exact needs and personality.
5. Family Doctors Improve Lives While Saving Money
It should come as no surprise that using more primary care doctors, including family doctors, saves money for individuals and for the healthcare system. In areas of the country where there are more primary care doctors per person, people are less likely to be hospitalized and death rates for cancer, heart disease, and stroke are lower. This was also proven by a study in Rhode Island that showed that a 23% increase in primary care spending resulted in an 18% reduction in overall healthcare spending. A primary care-based system costs less because patients experience better access, fewer hospitalizations, less duplication and more coordinated care. Finding a family doctor for your family’s medical needs could save you and your country money, and more importantly, improve the health of your family.