A Publication of WTVP

Establishing a relationship with a primary care provider is among the most important things you can do to ensure effective care.

When it comes to your health, the most important relationship you can develop is with your primary care provider (PCP). A PCP is a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner in the field of family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology or pediatrics. By getting to know your health history, your risks, your medications and who you are as a person, a PCP can help direct and coordinate your care as effectively as possible.

Building a trusting relationship with a PCP over time makes good sense, whether you’re focused on preventive care, experiencing a temporary illness or injury, or managing a chronic illness such as diabetes or asthma. In addition to providing direct care, your PCP can:

Coordinate Your Care
Your PCP coordinates your care among other providers such as specialists, laboratory, imaging, hospitals and home healthcare. By letting them know about your medical history and medications, seeing that tests are not duplicated, and getting results back quickly, the PCP can improve the quality of your healthcare as well as the value of your healthcare dollar. By using electronic medical record systems, your PCP can quickly and securely share information with other providers so your treatment can begin sooner.

Help Keep You Healthy
We often think of healthcare only in terms of healing us when we’re sick. However, the best path to good health is prevention. Your PCP will work with you so you get the services you need to keep you healthy as well as detect any problems at the earliest, most treatable stage.

Be Your Medical Home
At your primary care clinic, care should be easily and conveniently accessible. There should be effective communication between you and your doctor. Technology should be available to help you manage your health. In our offices, patients can use a secure portal to communicate with their provider, view test results and request appointments, and our team care approach enables your provider to devote full attention to you at every visit.

Manage Chronic Diseases
People who have a chronic illness such as diabetes, COPD or heart disease need extra support. Your PCP can coordinate resources such as a diabetic educator or cardiopulmonary rehab. They can also provide self-care tools and educate you and your family on how to manage your health for a better quality of life. For example, at UnityPoint Clinic in Metamora, our patient navigator has helped diabetic patients get their blood sugar under control, eliminating the need for daily insulin injections.

Provide Access to Care
Your PCP can help you get appointments with specialists, arrange for tests and other procedures, and make it easier for you to access support services like physical therapy. Your PCP should be able to answer questions by phone or through a secure patient portal, saving you the time and expense of coming for a face-to-face visit when it’s not necessary.

Finally, when you get sick or injured is not the time to start looking for a doctor. If you do not already have a primary care provider, we encourage you to establish a relationship with one while you are healthy. That way, you will have access to the right care, at the right time, in the right location. iBi