Top Five Benefits of Having a Primary Care Doctor

By Wendy Bacigalupi-Bednarz, Editorial Contributor

In their quest for convenience, some healthcare consumers are turning to digital health and wellness apps or quick-care clinics as a stand-in for primary care providers. 

What they may not realize is that seeing a primary care doctor actually supports timely, convenient, affordable care — and then some. Primary care physicians can see your whole healthcare picture rather than just an isolated snapshot, says Dr. Charles Lerner, internal medicine physician in the Celebration offices of Orlando Health Physician Associates. That advantage can help you live a longer and healthier life, say public health researchers. 

Dr. Lerner cites these five benefits of having a primary care doctor as your healthcare partner:

  • Longer and healthier life: Nearly 128,000 deaths could be prevented annually in the U.S. through primary care doctors, according to researchers. In areas where more primary care doctors are available per person, death rates for cancer, heart disease and stroke are lower.
  • A one-stop shop: Your primary care doctor is your first and often single stop for solving your healthcare woes. They treat many day-to-day illnesses and injuries — from colds and flu to back pain — and can detect serious illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, which may require care from a specialist.
  • Care coordination: Your primary care doctor knows all about you and your medicines and supplements, as well as which tests and screenings you need through every life stage. They also know how to find and coordinate with the right specialists to meet your needs.
  • Health and wellness advocate: Your primary care doctor will help you find a path toward long-term health and wellness. They’re your direct link to information on healthcare strategies such as nutrition and weight management, smoking cessation, help with alcohol or drug use, and managing stress and anxiety.
  • Time and cost savings: It’s faster and easier to get in for appointments once you’re an established patient. Many primary care doctors offer convenient same-day or next-day appointments for existing patients. This helps save time and money by avoiding urgent-care and emergency room visits.

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