Do you have a primary care doctor? You should! Finding a doctor you can build a long-term relationship with is good for your health. With so many primary care doctors to choose from, how do you find the best primary care doctor?
If you don’t already have a primary care physician, you should consider getting one soon, as it’s good for your health. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports “the evidence shows that access to primary care helps people live longer, healthier lives,” and that studies have suggested “that as many as 127,617 deaths per year in the United States could be averted through an increase in the number of primary care physicians available.”
The concept of primary care was first introduced in a now-classic New England Journal of Medicine article titled “The Ecology of Medical Care” in 1961 as a means of improving care for patients navigating a complicated web of specialist providers. Today, the primary care physician is the doctor who will you see you for anything from a sniffle or annual physical to chronic disease care, routine preventive tests or a sudden illness or injury. Also sometimes called family doctors (they see patients of any age) or general internists (who usually only see adult patients), this doctor typically acts as your first stop for any question regarding health and wellness, and many health insurance programs require a referral from a primary care physician before you can see a specialist for a closer look at a specific health issue.