If you’re like most people, you might turn to urgent care or even the emergency room whenever you get sick or injured. While these two types of practices are essential for short-term or more immediate needs, they generally fall short — both in terms of practicality and cost-savings — in regards to long-term wellness.
A lot of people choose to use urgent care or the emergency room simply because it’s easier and more convenient for them, or they don’t know why they would need a primary care doctor in the first place. Despite what you might appreciate about the convenience of your nearby urgent care, there are some real benefits to having a primary care provider in your life:
Consistent Care with a Trusted Partner
Healthy living is a lifelong endeavor. Sure, there are some things you can do in the short term that can help you feel better or keep you safe from getting sick, but the biggest boost to your overall health will be the result of the decisions you make over the months and years to come.
Although an urgent care provider can give you some helpful tips and advice whenever you visit, it’s important to remember that those practices rarely ever know anything about you beyond what illness or injury brought you in that day. A primary care provider, however, is there to build a long-term rapport with its patients. The biggest benefit of this is that patients will feel more comfortable over time sharing more information about their health, and a primary care doctor will then be able to better understand the big picture for each of his or her patients.
Chronic Condition Management
Regular communication, recommended specialist referrals, and long-term strategies for managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, COPD, heart disease, etc. — these are all big benefits to having a primary care doctor in your corner.
Primary care doctors can’t do it all, and they’ll often lean on other specialists for more in-depth chronic condition care. But, in general, the management of your condition is made far easier and more effective when you have someone who knows your full medical history and is with you every step of the way.
Referrals Are Made That Much Easier
When you require the help of specialists, such as those for physical therapy, diagnostic imaging, or even surgery, you’re almost always going to need a referral from a trusted doctor to get an appointment. And while you can still probably get an appointment with one of these specialists through an urgent care doctor, the process is made far easier with a primary care doctor.
A primary care doctor is usually going to be better connected and more experienced with patient referrals compared to a practitioner at an urgent care practice, so you’ll always know you’re getting the best recommendation possible. Moreover, if you’re working with a primary care provider that’s part of a larger network, like Dr. Childress at UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care, you can get the added benefit of faster, more seamless referrals to other practices.
Preventive Medicine is a Priority
If you’re only turning to a medical care provider whenever you get sick or injured, you’re really only being reactive about your overall health and wellness. Preventive medicine is all about taking a proactive stance and taking the necessary steps to reduce the likelihood of getting sick or hurt in the first place.
With regularly scheduled appointments with a primary care doctor, you’ll have a better chance of spotting warning signs before they evolve into something potentially more harmful or debilitating. Your doctor can also ensure you’re up to date with recommended vaccinations as well as help you along with your general wellness goals — making you more likely to live a healthier life in the long term.
Potential Long-Term Savings
What all this boils down to is this: Having a primary care doctor comes with the added benefit of saving you time and money.
Following a regular appointment schedule and keeping your primary care doctor involved in your medical history are key to preventing illnesses before they happen or limiting the damage done when you do get sick. That means you’ll be able to spend less time trying to get well and more time actually being well. On top of that, many insurance companies understand that it’s in their benefit to incentivize preventive care, so you’ll often pay far less for regular checkups than you would going to urgent care or the emergency room for far more serious ailments.
Where to Find a Primary Care Doctor in Southern Maryland
A quick online search will help you get started in your search for a primary care provider, and other resources such as your insurance company can help you narrow your list based on which doctors are in your network.
If you live in Southern Maryland, we recommend you take a closer look at UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care, located in La Plata. Led by Dr. Lorenzo Childress III, this primary care practice offers flexible appointment times in a convenient location. Visit our website or call (301) 609-5044 to learn more.