Choosing the right primary care physician (PCP) is important for you and your family, because your PCP is a vital healthcare partner who provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment of common medical problems, and makes referrals to specialists when necessary. Notably, most insurance plans require that medical care is directed by a PCP.
Understanding the types of primary care providers is the first step in selecting the right fit for you and your loved ones.
What is a Primary Care Physician?
Primary Care Physician (PCP) is an umbrella term to describe the main provider of non-emergency medical treatment and first point of contact to reach specialty health services. PCP types include:
- Pediatrician: A physician who specializes in the care of children, from newborns through adolescents.
- Family practitioner: A physician whose scope of practice includes all ages, children, and adults, and may include obstetrics.
- Gynecologist: A physician who specializes in the care of women of child-bearing age.
- Internal medicine: Not to be confused with a physician in training, an internist specializes in the care of adults of all ages for many different medical problems.
Internal Medicine Physicians
Internal medicine physicians are experts in a wide range of medical conditions affecting adults. In addition to providing education and preventative care that focuses on promoting good health, internists are "medical sleuths" who are specially trained in the causes, diagnosis and treatment of chronic illness.
According to Philip Myers, MD, from Doylestown Health Internal Medicine, because of their experience in a hospital setting, internists are well-equipped to deal with a wide range of subspecialties in medicine and are skilled in diagnosing and treating both acute and chronic conditions. "If a patient is experiencing many medical issues, an internal medicine doctor can help them navigate through the sometimes complex healthcare system and make the appropriate decisions about the best course of action for treatment."
Three Reasons to Choose an Internal Medicine Provider:
You're an Adult
Just as a pediatrician specializes in the care of children, an internal medicine provider is highly trained in the unique needs of adults and delivers that care in a way that takes into account "the whole person," from head to toe.
You're Healthy (and Want to Stay That Way)
Internists have a keen interest in solving "medical puzzles" according to Dr. Myers, and because they know their patients as a whole person, internists are tuned-in to subtle clues about a patient's overall health. Routine visits can sometimes reveal concerns or conditions, that require further investigation.
You Have a Chronic, Complex Condition
Internal medicine providers are comfortable in treating a wide range of medical diseases and conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. "We manage these conditions simultaneously in-house, so patients don't have to see ten different doctors," according to Dr. Myers. "At some point, we might decide to bring in a specialist for testing and consultation, and if we do, we then offer continuity of care and advocate for the patient during the process."
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About Primary Care
Our board-certified Doylestown Health Primary Care physicians provide preventive healthcare, healthy lifestyle education and compassionate treatment of illness for all members of the family. As a partner in health, we strive to meet the unique needs of each patient through routine preventive care, referrals to medical specialists if needed and patient advocacy if the care of a specialist becomes necessary.