Think of a primary care physician or provider (PCP) as your home base for health care. You see a PCP annually to assess your overall wellbeing. Your PCP care will include:
- Screenings based on your medical history and demographics
- Preventive care
- Treatment for acute, minor and chronic conditions
- Referrals to specialists
While you may go to an urgent care, see specialists or even visit the hospital occasionally, your PCP oversees your general health. Often after a hospital or urgent care visit, it’s your PCP who will manage your follow up care, especially since they know you and your health history the best.
PCPs specialize by age group and it’s up to you to decide what focus works best for you and your family. There are three types of primary care providers:
- Pediatricians care for patients from birth to eighteen years old.
- Family medicine providers care for patients of all ages.
- Internal medicine providers care for adults only.