Get a PCP. It's as easy as 1-2-3 (4)

Get a PCP.  It's as easy as 1-2-3 (4)

Jump out of bed (late), take a quick shower and get dressed, feed the kids, take the dog for a quick walk. Then work 8 hours before moving on to dinner, dishes and laundry.

Day-to-day life can get hectic. Going for an annual health checkup or getting a flu shot each year can be another thing you don’t need on your to-do list. But getting in a bind when someone gets sick or hurt can be an even bigger hassle. My advice? Get yourself a primary care physician (PCP) ahead of time, so you don’t have to wonder what to do when a health problem happens. 

You can choose a family doctor or an internist to be your family PCP. My kids have a pediatrician as their PCP and I use my OB/GYN doctor.

I bet I can convince you to get a PCP with four reasons

  1. Call me sentimental. No one knows me like my PCP. She knows what medicines I take, what medicines I’ve tried before that didn’t work, and that I’m forgetful and don’t always take my medicine like I should. She knows that I’ve never had a problem with high blood pressure, so if my numbers are high something is stressing me out. Someone who has a history of you and with you will be better prepared to make the right call when you have a problem. Besides, who doesn’t want to feel at ease in a doctor’s office?
  2. Hey, it’s me again.My PCP’s office knows who I am. The pediatrician really knows who I am. I can call the office when I have a medical issue. My kids’ pediatrician will try to fit us in   that day or have the doctor or the physician assistant call me back. If they can’t see me, they’ll tell me what my next step should be. It could be to “take two aspirin and call me in the morning,” or it could be to go to a health clinic (earache), urgent care center (high fever) or emergency room (Umm, I think something is broken). Having that “go-to” person means I don’t have to wonder what to do, and I don’t have to make an expensive trip to the emergency room when I don’t need to. Taking care of small health problems before they become big ones is a huge reason to have a doctor on speed dial.
  3. Put me in, Coach. One of the main things a PCP does is help you stay well. My doctor’s office calls me and sends me an email when it’s time for my annual well-woman exam or mammogram. Our pediatrician sends fun postcards reminding us about sports physicals, immunizations and back-to-school check-ups. My PCP keeps me in top form for allergy season, cold and flu season, and the holiday season when things always seem to go wrong.
  4. They know people who know people.Through regular office visits and care of your health issues, your PCP can decide when you need to see a specialist for a health condition. This saves you time and money. A good example: I was having pretty strong and constant pain down the right side of my leg, and it went on for quite some time. I just assumed I had bone cancer, permanent nerve damage, dengue fever or some life-changing crippling disease. I put off taking care of it partly because I had no idea who to see to find out. Orthopedist, neurologist, surgeon, tropical disease specialist? I just happened to mention it to my PCP, and she sent me for some scans to see what was wrong. Diagnosis: sciatic nerve flair up. A little pain reliever and a few visits to a physical therapist did the trick. No orthopedic surgeon required. If it had been, my PCP would have figured it out for me and sent me to the right place.

You’re welcome for the free health care consultation. You’re next step is to search for a good PCP.

Already have one?

Why do you love your PCP?

Originally published  August 18, 2015