What Is a Primary Care Physician (PCP)?

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Dr. Katherine Weeks is a primary care physician in Mooresville NC

As a child, you may have visited a pediatrician for your well visits and routine checkups. It is a good idea to continue to see a doctor regularly throughout adulthood. You may need care for physical exams, maintaining your general health, and if signs or symptoms of an illness appear.

You need to decide which doctor is best for you and your family.

There are many terms, titles, and types of physicians. Some are general physicians, some have specialties. It can be hard to understand the different terms surrounding medicine, physicians, and primary care.

Read on to learn more about the types of primary care physicians, the difference between family doctors and internists, and how to choose the best PCP for your needs.

Understanding Primary Care

You may have heard the terms “primary care physician,” “family practice,” and “internal medicine.” Oftentimes, the terms are used together or in place of one another, but they do have differences. We will break down the differences to help you better understand who handles your care. 

First, when selecting a physician to handle your general health and wellness, you need to find a primary care physician. Your health insurance plan may require a PCP when you sign up for coverage.

What Is Primary Care?

A 2019 study showed that patients who have a primary care doctor have better healthcare experiences and receive higher quality care. Primary care refers to physicians who are your first line of contact for comprehensive and continuing care. This is often your first step in addressing and maintaining your healthcare needs. 

Primary Care Doctors and Services Offered

A primary care physician prevents, diagnoses, and treats a range of illnesses, conditions, and injuries for the general population. Your PCP offers care for chronic conditions, acute problems or illnesses, and men’s and/or women’s health issues.

What Is the Best Type of Physician for Primary Care?

A primary care provider may refer to a family medicine practitioner, nurse practitioner, internist, physician assistant, or pediatrician. For the most part, they are similar and offer the same services. The differences lie in their backgrounds and the ages of their patients.

What Is the Difference Between a Primary Care Doctor and a Family Doctor?

Family medical doctors treat patients of all ages. 

They offer care for patients at all stages of their lives from infants to seniors. They can treat minor problems such as bronchitis or the flu. In addition, they offer continuing care for chronic problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.

As primary care physicians, family doctors understand your medical and family histories. They can help you stay ahead of genetic issues and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Family doctors complete four years of medical school and three years of residency.

Is a Primary Care Doctor the Same as an Internal Medicine Doctor?

An internist, or doctor of internal medicine, can also be a primary care doctor. This type of physician treats a wide variety of medical conditions in adults or older teens only. He or she does not treat infants and young children.

Internal medicine doctors also attend medical school for four years before completing three years of residency.

Selecting a PCP in Mooresville, NC

Now that you understand the common types of primary care providers, it is time to choose one. 

How Do I Know My Primary Care Physician?

Patients often choose doctors based on recommendations or internet searches. Common tips for selecting a PCP include:

  • Get physician recommendations from family, friends, or your insurance company.
  • Find a physician who is located near you.
  • Check the provider’s background. Is she board certified? Does she offer and is she experienced with the services or treatments you need? Is she accepting new patients?
  • Read reviews to make sure the doctor is one with whom you would feel comfortable.
  • Contact the office. Interview the staff. Ask questions. The staff is your first line of contact with the practice. Do you get a good feeling from the team?

Establish a Good Relationship with Your Primary Doctor

A good doctor-patient relationship is a cornerstone to great healthcare. 

When you establish a trusting relationship with your physician, you are more open about your symptoms and how you are feeling. You are more likely to go to the doctor when an issue arises rather than putting it off. 

Your PCP is familiar with your medical history and knows what other specialists or areas of concern you may have. He or she stays in the loop to make sure you are getting the best care possible.

Choose Blue Skies Family Medicine as Your PCP

For more personalized healthcare, choose Blue Skies Family Medicine as your primary care physician in Mooresville, NC. Dr. Katherine Weeks is a board-certified family physician. She is dedicated to more inclusive healthcare and is devoted to her patients. 

At Blue Skies Family Medicine, our practice is very patient-centered. Patients have better access to their primary care physician. They may reach Dr. Weeks or a member of the practice 24/7. Appointment times are also longer so there is more time to talk about the patient’s needs or concerns.

Direct Primary Care

As a direct primary care practice, Blue Skies Family Medicine provides better physician access, open communication with patients, unrushed appointments, and medical care with a personal touch.

We offer membership plans for individuals or families. As a Blue Skies member, your plan covers a range of services and discounted fees on additional services.

Schedule an Appointment

Our team offers comprehensive family medicine for the entire family. Contact Blue Skies Family Medicine to schedule an appointment with our primary care doctor today!

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