According to 1200 randomly selected adults who contributed to a national poll, around 26 percent of adults don’t have a “doctor”—that is to say, a primary care provider.  This number varies by age and generation, but this and other surveys find one thing most startling: more and more consumers are seeking medical treatment at urgent care clinics and emergency rooms in lieu of establishing care with a primary care provider at a private or public practice. What does this trend mean for doctors and what does it mean for you as a consumer? On March 30 physicians across the nation will celebrate National Doctor’s Day and this is the perfect time to learn just what being a doctor means.
Primary Care Providers Explained
Your primary care provider (PCP) is a physician who provides ongoing and preventative care, generally treating common medical problems. This physician you visit on a routine basis is traditionally a doctor, but may be a physician assistant (PA) or nurse practitioner (NP). Both PAs and NPs are skilled professionals who complete education and training standards unique to their title, and depending on the circumstance, you may end up choosing one of these professionals over a doctor.
Choosing a PCP
When it comes to choosing a Primary Care Provider, there are many factors that may take you looking at all your options. For instance, it’s not just the physician that you’ll be dealing with, but the whole office!
- Is the office staff friendly and helpful? Are the office hours convenient?
- Are the office hours convenient or impossible for your schedule?
- How easy is it to communicate with your provider?
- Doe the communication style match yours?
- Does the provider focus on wellness and prevention or only treatment?
- Is the provider conservative or aggressive?
- Does the provider order a lot of expensive tests?
- Does the provider refer to other specialists frequently?
- What do other professionals or patients say about the provider?
- Does the provider involve you in your own care and treatment?
National Doctor’s Day
Whether your Primary Care Provider is a doctor, a Nurse Practitioner, or a Physician’s Assistant, you can honor your PCP and yourself by celebrating National Doctor’s Day. Thank the provider in your life by showing your appreciation and by scheduling a new appointment. It’s important to your PCP that you are taking your health seriously and it makes the job more rewarding. If your PCP is a Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant, you can still honor your whole medical team by sending a b