Primary care doctors serve several vital purposes in a patient’s healthcare:
All patients should designate a primary care physician to ensure focus on prevention and wellness and coordinate care.
Primary care doctors are trained in all systems of the body and qualified to diagnose and coordinate treatment for any condition. Primary care physicians treat hundreds of conditions independently and refer patients to specialists for conditions requiring specialized equipment or expertise. Some of the most common conditions treated by primary care doctors include the common cold, ear infections, pneumonia, sexually transmitted diseases, mental illnesses, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more.
Primary care doctors still serve as the patient’s central contact. They maintain a comprehensive electronic medical record that includes the patient’s history with any number of specialists. They also monitor the patient long-term, often reporting back to the specialist as requested. They may renew medications, monitor vital signs or medication levels in the blood, issue diagnostic tests, and monitor the patient for related complications. Most importantly, primary care doctors maintain a focus on wellness and prevention while the specialist treats the problem.
While primary care doctors are qualified to treat many emergency conditions, clinic rooms aren't equipped with the right medications and equipment to handle life-threatening emergencies in the most efficient way. Patients who are struggling to breathe, hemorrhaging, having a severe allergic reaction, have experienced trauma, or who think they may be having a heart attack or stroke should go directly to the nearest emergency room.