It's easy to get swept up in the endless array of health and fitness fads that are constantly making their way across the country, but one medical truth has remained constant: having a family doctor is the gateway to a longer, healthier life. Family doctors aren't just generalists; they are doctors who specialize in treating patients as a whole. They are trained to treat patients throughout every stage of their lives, and this has some major implications for the type of care that they can provide.
Family Doctors Build Relationships
While you may repeatedly visit the same specialist throughout a particular illness, family doctors are here to care for you no matter what happens. This kind of long-term relationship is all about trust. Through years of care, your doctor can learn firsthand about your own unique medical history and needs. This relationship is a two-way street, however, and being familiar with your family doctor means that you always have a medical professional who is on your side.
This relationship of trust is what separates family doctors from internists. A family doctor's training focuses on caring for a wide spectrum of patients, from infants to the elderly. This helps to equip them for whatever medical issues that you may have, but it also means that they can provide consistent care as you age.
They Can Help You Manage Your Health
Not every chronic condition requires a specialist. In fact, family doctors are often willing and able to provide management for a variety of chronic conditions. Depending on the type of condition, you may still need to see a specialist alongside your physician, but routine management of your health can be handled by your doctor. This may include management of prescriptions, special diets, or exercise routines. By having a detailed understanding of your history, your doctor brings a unique perspective to your treatment that a specialist cannot.
You'll Save Money on Care, Too
Surprisingly, having a family physician is a great way to save money on your healthcare costs over the long run as well. When you visit a new doctor, there is only so much information that they are able to retrieve. This is especially true if you have a history of seeing many other doctors, since it can often be difficult for your new physician to determine the best source of information about your medical history. This means that you may pay for more tests and examinations than are necessary.
Your personal doctor, however, will have a good understanding of your background and will have easy access to any previous labwork or examinations that might be relevant to your current condition. This means less time spent at the doctor and less money spent on tests that you have already been through.
While specialists, urgent care clinics, and the wide range of medical options available to patients today all serve important roles, the family doctor remains one of the cornerstones of staying in good health.Share