December 27, 2021

Women may have an OBGYN like Dr. Katie Keepers as their primary care physician. 

People who have a primary care provider actually live longer. Research also shows that they are less likely to die from cancer, heart diseases, stroke and other illnesses. Why? Primary care providers catch small health problems before they become serious.

What is a primary care provider? A primary care provider, often called a PCP, is a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner who sees patients for common medical issues, when they are sick and routine check-ups. Your primary care provider is typically in family medicine or internal medicine. For women, your PCP can also be in gynecology and children may have a pediatrician.

Prevention is still the best medicine and PCPs are trained to prevent diseases. Heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Yet these diseases can often be prevented or detected early when treatment works best. At annual check-ups and other visits, PCPs recommend screenings for common diseases.  

For instance, one in three American adults have prediabetes and 90 percent of us don’t know we have it. Prediabetes puts us at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. A primary care provider may notice symptoms and order a simple blood sugar test. If prediabetes is diagnosed, losing a small amount of weight, regular physical activity and learning to eat healthy can prevent diabetes. A primary care provider can offer resources and support along the way.

Here are the top five perks to having a primary care provider. 

  1. Trust: When you see the same primary care provider for routine check-ups and medical issues, you develop a strong patient-provider relationship. The result is open and honest communication. Knowing you better and working together, your PCP can create the right treatment plan for you.
  2. Live Longer: One study shows adults who have a primary care provider have 19 percent lower odds of premature death than those who only see specialists. Primary care providers often catch health issues early in routine checkups. Early treatment can prevent more serious problems and improve your overall health.
  3. Your Healthcare Coach: With a diagnosis such as depression, diabetes or heart disease, your primary care provider can refer you to specialists who can best address specific issues. Your primary care provider is like a coach who can see the whole field and will continue to oversee your overall health, coordinate your medical care and follow your treatment.
  4. Build Your Health History: When you have a primary care provider, your health history will be more comprehensive. Your health history contains important information—current medications, family history, medical conditions, immunizations, past medical issues and so much more. A comprehensive health history gives you and your provider the big picture.
  5. Prevent Disease: Primary care providers prevent disease by giving you vaccines, ordering routine blood tests for diabetes and cholesterol and recommending health screenings. To prevent health conditions, primary care providers encourage patients to eat healthy, exercise and maintain a healthy weight.

 To meet our primary care providers, visit Find A Doctor.