Patient visiting their primary care doctor.

Does a Primary Care Doctor Help Overall Health?

Having a trusted primary care doctor (or primary care physician) is essential for your individual healthcare needs

One – it’s comforting to know that you have a physician who knows your medical history, from vaccinations and minor illnesses to conditions and health issues that you live with on an ongoing basis. Two – studies show that having a primary care doctor leads to better health outcomes at lower costs! But, there’s more to it than just that.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the reasons why you need a trusted primary care doctor.

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Commercial driver undergoing a DOT physical.

A DOT Physical: What Is It Exactly?

A DOT physical is a specific type of physical examination required by the Department of Transportation (DOT). It is performed for individuals whose jobs are considered “safety sensitive,” meaning that their duties not only affect them but also the health of the general public.

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A family physician performing a regular checkup on a patient.

Family Physicians and Your Health

Family physicians, also called primary care physicians and family doctors, are the first line of defense in our healthcare system. Their role covers a wide range of duties: they provide regular checkups, monitor chronic conditions, and inform patients when they need to see a specialist.

A family physician may operate in a private practice or a family practice with other family medicine physicians and typically sees all members of a family – children and adults. Read more

Patient receiving a physical exam.

What Happens During a Physical Exam?

An annual physical exam is the best way for both you and your primary care provider (PCP) to stay informed and up-to-date about your overall wellness. During this checkup, your PCP is able to review your health status, updates in personal and family history since your last checkup, performs a general medical exam, which usually includes different tests depending on your age (along with other risk factors, like family history of health issues).

[FREE CHECKLIST] Get the most out of your physical exam by using this checklist of questions to ask your primary care provider!

Here’s what to expect when you go to the doctor’s office for your physical exam.

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Patient receiving treatment from his primary care physician.

How to Choose a Primary Care Physician

Primary care physicians (PCPs) are the foundation of the U.S. healthcare system, serving as the entry point to all other health care services, including specialists and hospitals. (Over 200 million visits to PCPs occur in the United States every year!)

In most cases, people visit their PCPs more than any other medical professional, which makes it important to choose a doctor you feel comfortable with. Why? Because research shows that patients who have strong relationships with their PCPs (aka patient-centered care) have better outcomes!

[FREE CHECKLIST] Are you asking your doctor the right questions? This checklist includes a comprehensive list of everything you should be asking!

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Primary care physician attending to a patient.

The Role of a Primary Care Physician (PCP)

A primary care physician (PCP), sometimes referred to as primary care provider, general practitioner or internist, is a clinician who establishes a long-term relationship with his or her patients (and sometimes the patient’s family) in order to provide preventive care and health education.

[FREE CHECKLIST] From general health and medications to test results and new diagnoses, this list has everything you should ask your doctor—and then some!

A PCP’s role is widespread: diagnose and treat illness and disease, manage complex health conditions, oversee medications and treatments, assist patients coping with stress and/or adjusting to major life events, communicate effectively with other medical specialists, and refer patients to appropriate specialist services as needed.

As the healthcare industry continues to rapidly change, with more and more people enrolling in health insurance plans, patients have more choices available to them when it comes to choosing a physician to see for care.

So, how does the role of a primary care physician differ from that of other doctors in the field?

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