Primary Care: The First Step to Better Health

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In this day and age, patients may begin to wonder why they need to establish a relationship with a primary care provider.

With Dr. Google at our fingertips, patient authorized, direct access testing available without a doctor’s order and urgent care clinics for those times we can’t avoid seeing a physician, why would anyone need a family doctor? A primary care physician is perhaps a patient’s most valuable ally – they play an invaluable role in managing a patient’s healthcare holistically.

Patients who establish a relationship with a provider as a young adult can build a relationship that can last nearly a lifetime. A long-term patient/provider relationship allows the provider to understand the patient’s complete medical history and recognize changes early, resulting in prevention and early detection of health concerns.

While some routine screenings, such as cholesterol screenings, are available on a walk-in basis through patient authorized, direct access testing now offered at Mercer Health, not all recommended blood tests can be completed without a provider’s authorization – and some screenings require an actual physical exam. Furthermore, you may need to consult a trusted professional regarding the results of direct access lab tests.

Chronic conditions can be difficult to manage without the help of a professional. While patients may see multiple specialists – for example, an endocrinologist and a cardiologist – a primary care provider can help direct all of their care. Furthermore, primary care doctors and nurse practitioners help patients understand how conditions affect overall health, manage medications and adjust care plans as needed. Seeing a primary care provider regularly, keeping up with routine screenings and having open dialogue help to better maintain your chronic disease.

Research also shows that patients who visit their primary care provider regularly have fewer hospitalizations. Set a goal to make your health a priority. Schedule an appointment with your family doctor for your annual check-up and routine screenings.

Mercer Health has primary care offices in Celina, Coldwater, Ft. Recovery, New Bremen and St. Henry, and additional specialty clinics throughout Mercer County and the surrounding area. For a full listing of Mercer Health providers, visit www.mercer-health.com/physicians.

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