You and Your Primary Care Physician: A Relationship for a Healthy Life
When you have a health concern or need medical care, do you have that one "go to" doctor you can call?
A primary care physician, or PCP, is your main point of contact - your first stop - to identify an illness or condition, offer methods of care, write prescriptions, and recommend specialists or facilities if additional diagnoses and follow up are needed.
Are You a New Member?
If you are new to the Optima Health community, you can often continue your relationship with your current physician, or select a new one from our extensive list of participating providers. If you have children, you may choose a participating pediatrician as their PCP.
Benefits of a PCP
When you establish a relationship with a PCP, you develop continuity of care with someone who gets to know you and your health goals, and helps you manage your overall progress, which adds up to better health.
- Your PCP will provide routine and preventive care services such as annual physicals, exams, and treatment for colds and flu.
- Your PCP can help you focus on staying healthy in addition to treating you when you are sick or hurt.
- Through routine care, your PCP can catch problems early before they become serious or lead to major illnesses.
- If you have a chronic condition like asthma or diabetes, your PCP will help you develop a self-management plan, monitor your progress, and refer you to specialized care if needed.
Get the Most of Your Time With Your PCP
- Be honest. It’s always the best policy, especially when your health could be affected.
- Come prepared. Write down your questions and be specific about what you intend to discuss.
- Prioritize your concerns. Time is limited with a provider so focus on the issues most important to you.
- Don’t be afraid to request another appointment. If you have a long list of items, schedule another appointment, and tell the doctor you have other issues to address.
- Bring someone with you. A close friend or family member can help keep track of information and is a way to be sure all your questions will be answered.
- Use an online patient portal to communicate if available. Don’t underestimate the power of communication that is not face to face.
- Tell your doctor about OTC medications, herbal supplements, and vitamins. Some of these can interact with prescribed drugs.
- Tell the doctor if you are stressed, depressed, or abused. Doctors may not be therapists but they’ve heard it all. Don’t be afraid to discuss personal issues.
- Let your doctor know if you have reasons for not following orders. Does your medication cause side effects? Are you unable to follow a nutrition or activity plan? Let your doctor know!
- Tell your doctor if you can’t sleep. Sleep is important to your health. Your doctor can evaluate the problem and provide advice on how to solve it.
- Let your doctor know if you have low energy. Fatigue is associated with many illnesses. Let your doctor know if this is a chronic problem.