Patients looking to improve their lifestyles and overall health need a trusted primary care physician (PCP) to help them. Primary care physicians have a vital role to play in the well-being of their patients. In fact, their services help patients to live healthier lives and have better medical outcomes.
What Primary Care Providers Do
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, primary care assists patients with medical concerns while helping to lower costs and improve health. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) outlines the “four Cs” of primary care as serving as the initial contact for patients with new health problems, a source of continuing care for existing conditions, a comprehensive provider for preventative exams and screenings, and a coordinated care resource by offering referrals to specialists.
These combined definitions mean that PCPs offer patients entry into the healthcare system with someone who can coordinate patient care with specialists based on the individual’s needs. Plus, PCP care can reduce overall costs by helping patients to avoid making trips to the emergency room for minor ailments. A strong relationship with a PCP can help patients to make changes to maintain healthy lifestyles and get quality medical care.
How Primary Care Providers Promote Healthier Lifestyles
Primary care providers offer patients ways to have healthier lives. In a study of people with and without PCPs, those who had primary care physicians were more likely to have cancer screenings, such as mammographies and colorectal screenings. Patients with PCPs who also had diabetes had a greater chance of getting high-quality care for their condition than those without a PCP. Additionally, patients with PCPs got better preventative care and lifestyle counseling, including preventative vaccines and smoking cession counseling.
The study showed that those who had PCPs had high-quality care overall, but how can a PCP help their patients to live healthier lives? The key lies in the lasting relationships primary care doctors build with their patients.
Building Trusting Relationship
Primary care providers act as the patient’s first connection to the greater healthcare system. Many people see their PCP before visiting a specialist. Therefore, people visit their primary care doctors more often than they do other providers.
With regular visits, PCPs can build a trusting relationship with each of their patients, which makes the patients more open to suggestions on making lifestyle changes or following through on medical recommendations, such as cancer screenings.
Primary care providers have the unique ability to educate and guide patients over time toward better health. Each visit to a PCP, whether for preventative care or assessment of a medical concern, provides a chance for the provider to offer the patient advice on improving their lifestyle for better health. Some PCPs even offer extended appointments, between 30 to 90 minutes, to provide even more time to build connections and offer guidance to their patients.
While PCPs can offer guidance, they also provide feedback to patients. This information encourages the patient to continue with their healthier lifestyle by empirically showing them healthy returns for their changes. At regular visits to a PCP, the patient has vital signs tested and can receive timely feedback on their lifestyle changes, which may push them to maintain their changes and adopt new ones to improve health.
For example, a patient who gets advice from a PCP to stop smoking can see improvements in their blood pressure or blood work at each subsequent visit to their PCP. These results can provide a drive for the patient to continue to improve their lives based on the PCP’s recommendations.
All Patients Should Have a Primary Care Provider for Basic Medical Needs
Everyone should have a primary care provider. One option is through a direct primary care (DPC) provider that allows extra time at each visit to create a patient-focused relationship. The connection between the patient and provider helps both to work toward improving the patient’s overall health and well-being. For more information on direct primary care providers in Oregon, contact Oregon Health DPC.
Oregon Health DPC’s goal is to provide Functional and Preventive Healthcare that will help you lead a healthy lifestyle, so that you may live your best life. Welcome to the new look of healthcare – Oregon Health DPC.
Take control of your health and live your best life today. Schedule a consultation with Oregon Health Direct Primary Care and experience the power of functional and preventive healthcare!