Primary Care – the Backbone of a Community’s Healthcare
Primary Care is the “gateway” to healthcare. This is how it was known for a long time and it is still known by some as such. It is actually the foundation of healthcare. The first contact for patient with healthcare is with the primary care doctor. It could be basic care, urgent care, or prevention.
The doctors know a patient’s family history, examines the patients in details, things of preventive medicines such as vaccinations and treatment if there is a disease condition. The doctors or providers maintain key partnerships with specialty care in the community to provide more complex care to patients which is beyond the expertise of doctors. Therefore, specialists are members of primary care teams.
Primary care Physicians
Doctors and healthcare providers make the fundamental foundation of any community’s healthcare needs. Primary care doctors promote health, healthy behavior, and health education in and outside the community they reside in. Patients may consult their providers at healthcare centers, at patients’ homes or via telehealth. Doctors advocate change, and provide high level, appropriate, effective, and equitable healthcare which is cost-effective at the same time.
This healthcare is delivered by the primary care doctors and their teams. Specialties include family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, and OB-GYN. Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) are nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharm-B.
Physicians have training pathways that are quite different from Advanced Practice Providers. Primary care provider physicians graduate from medical schools and usually undergo a rigorous three-year training called residency. Some primary care tracks have a four-year residency training.
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In the nurse practitioner track, providers first become nurses and spend one or two years for advanced training to become a nurse practitioner. Physician assistants complete undergraduate education and spend two years in post-graduate education in a clinical environment, learning the basics of healthcare to become a physician assistant.
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Family practice training include pediatrics, OB-GYN and internal medicine. They may not have the depth in training but they are proficient enough to diagnose and treat most of the conditions. Internal medicine doctors take care of patients that are 18 years or older, and they can treat, diagnose and manage most disease conditions that do not require specialty care.
Similarly, pediatricians take care of patients below 18 years of age and can diagnose and treat patients who do not need advanced procedures or care. OB-GYNs specialize in women’s health that includes genitourinary and reproductive organs. They are often the first contact for the ladies who become pregnant and generally the first contact for newborns. They are crucial in sexual inter-productive health of the community and form policies for that.
The stats from the US indicate that 89% of adults are likely to regularly visit a primary care provider. Though the number is apparently encouraging but it is one of the least among the developed countries. Moreover, only 43% of adults maintain long-term relationships with their providers.
Primary care is essentially the backbone of every community’s healthcare needs. They are the indispensable partners between the community healthcare and specialty care. Find a physician near you and schedule an appointment today.