Frequently asked questions about primary care physicians

What is a Primary Care Physician?

A Primary Care Physician is considered a patient’s main doctor and is responsible for dealing with the majority of their health care needs and/or concerns relating to their general health. If their patient has a problem that is more complex than the PCP can manage they will refer them to see a specialist in the area of the health issue.

What health care needs do PCPs manage?

Primary Care Physicians give their patients yearly physical exams and conduct preventative health care; they also inform their patients on what future health care problems they are at risk for developing based on family medical history. They also provide patients with information on how they can prevent or decrease risk for those medical problems.

PCPs will also take care of any non-emergency problems their patients may have, like a cold that has gotten worse over time or pink eye, they can fix you up with some medication and remedies for feeling better. They will also manage and monitor and chronic health issues their patients may have like high blood pressure or acid reflux disease.

What is the importance of the PCP role?

The most valuable role Primary Care Physicians have is their ability to coordinate care. If a patient has complicated medical problems, needs multiple specialist physicians, and is in and out of the hospital they will need to have good care coordination.

PCPs knows what each of the specialists are doing and makes sure they’re not duplicating tests or procedures that have already been done by another specialist. PCPs also make sure all of a patient’s prescriptions are absolutely necessary and all are compatible with each other. Care coordination is such a large part of a patient’s health care but isn’t given that much thought by the general public.

Is the time spent with patients and quality of care being received satisfactory?

Due to the fact that most doctors only make money by prescribing, testing, scanning, and seeing as many patients as they can, they do not get to spend quality time with their patients to understand their health care problems. This is dangerous in the case of unnecessary testing and prescribing, and it is also dangerous because the lack of communication in the doctor-patient relationship impacts the quality of care. Sadly, this is the works of the American health care system, not the physicians.