(Spoiler alert: the answer is “yes.”)

When the internet makes it possible to access a library’s worth of symptoms, treatments, and side effects on your smartphone during a snack break, what’s the need for a personal family doctor? Why go through the hassle of researching MDs when many neighborhoods provide a walk-in clinic around the corner?

The truth is that your primary physician is an essential member of your family’s whole-health team. Once you find the right fit, they will be a collaborative health advocate for the duration of your physical wellness, providing far more benefits than you might expect.

A Focus on the Whole

Rather than specializing in one organ, system, disease, or surgical practice, family physicians have training across the health spectrum, in areas including:

  • Preventative medicine
  • Diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and other chronic conditions
  • Ear, nose, eye, and throat issues
  • Mental and behavioral health
  • Skeletal and joint care
  • Reproductive and gynecological health
  • Diagnostic testing, including X-rays and ultrasounds
  • Minor surgical procedures
  • Acute emergency care

With their special emphasis on people, not conditions, family physicians work with you to prevent getting sick in the first place, and support practices that will positively impact your whole being throughout your full life.

Tracking Over Time

Everyone’s life includes significant health moments including birth, serious illness or injury, and end-of-life transitions that impact everyone. Your family physician can be a part of each stage, and can consequently help navigate what may lie ahead.

Because you see them regularly over time, your family doctor will know your medical history, will have tended to you through different stages, and monitored your baselines for optimal health. This better equips them to anticipate potential problems, uncover hidden conditions, recognize signs of disease early on, and make personalized referrals for both acute and chronic illnesses — all while keeping your individual needs in mind.

American Family Physician has recorded several other benefits of this kind of long-term, personalized medical attention, including “reduced all-cause mortality rates, less frequent use of emergency departments and hospitals,better preventive care, improved detection of and reduction in mortality from several cancers, less frequent testing and medication use, better patient satisfaction, and a reduction in health disparities.” All because of this unique medical relationship.

A Personalized Choice from the Beginning

There are some important questions to consider when choosing a family doctor, to ensure your optimal care.

Convenient Hours & Location?

If it’s challenging to get to their office for an annual check-up or emergency, even the most highly-rated doctor is potentially not the best fit. But when they work in a location that’s easily reachable from your home, not only can you see them with ease, but your doctor will likely know your neighborhood and community, as well.

Keep your schedule in mind, as well. How quickly can you get an appointment? Does the office provide a health portal for secure email queries? Convenience of communication will be helpful to both of you.

Is Your Insurance Accepted?

Selecting a doctor within your plan’s network will maximize insurance benefits. Use your insurer’s directory as a starting point, but also call each office for confirmation. During that inquiry, also ask about hospital admitting privileges. The doctor you choose may determine which hospital you are referred to if it becomes necessary, and it’s possible your insurance coverage may be impacted as a result.

Do Your Personalities Match?

Since your doctor will be an important caregiver for your whole family, think about the traits that may make you the most comfortable with them, including:

  • Gender (male, female, trans, non-binary)
  • Race
  • Age
  • Language fluency
  • Communication approach (soothing and gentle, or no-nonsense and direct)

Remember that family doctors are caring professionals who want you to find a good fit, too.

When you’re ready, schedule a get-to-know-you appointment to review your health history and current needs. Though it may take a few attempts, the investment in this relationship is an investment in yourself!

To learn more about our services or get to know our physicians, call us at 762-356-4933 or explore our website.