Most medical experts recommend that people have a primary care doctor who knows them well. When a person has an ongoing relationship with a primary care doctor, they get a better quality of care. Unfortunately, too many people use the emergency room for medical care instead. This is one of the most expensive places to get medical treatment for anything. In 2009, the average cost of multiple emergency department trips was about $1,318, and the median cost was $615, according to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). Many people go to the emergency room because their doctor’s office is closed after hours. Fewer than 30% of all primary care physicians have office hours beyond 6:00 pm on week nights.
However, going to a family doctor is nevertheless highly beneficial. Whether you are looking for diabetes monitoring or STD testing for men, the primary care clinic is the best place to go.
The Benefits of Going to a Primary Care Doctor:
- They know you
When you get your medical care from the emergency room or other urgent care facilities, the medical staff are only seeing you when you are really sick or injured. They do not know what your vital signs are normally. They cannot compare what you are like when you are sick versus when you are healthy. When you go to a physician for regular check ups, they get to know you and your health better. This makes them more able to diagnose your problems.
- You get better care for chronic conditions
Emergency rooms and walk in health clinics are around to offer care for serious problems that come up. They cannot diagnose and treat chronic conditions, such as Diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol. They can do some testing, such as STD testing for men, but they cannot keep any problems in check.
- The primary care physician is the quarterback of your health care team
Unlike the doctors you see at an emergency room or emergency walk in clinic, your primary care doctor can coordinate the care you receive from a number of different specialists. If you are like many people, you have multiple medical issues. If you need to see specialists, your primary care doctor can oversee and coordinate all of your care to make sure you are getting the best care possible. This not only cuts down on the cost of your treatments, but also reduces the chance you’ll suffer from complications or have bad interactions from the different medications you’re taking.
- Primary care doctors can help prevent small problems from becoming bigger
If you go to the doctor for the recommended number of check ups, your physician can find problems early, when they are easier to treat. This is one way to prevent needing to go to the emergency room or urgent care clinic. When they do STD testing for men, they can also provide the best treatment options for any problems you find.
- They can prevent needless trips to the emergency room or after hours urgent care clinic
If you are unsure what to do if you are injured or become sick, you can call your primary doctor and they can let you know if they think you need to go to the emergency room.
Going to the emergency room is never fun. Waiting times are long, and getting longer. The mean wait time in American emergency rooms grew about 25% between 2003 and 2009. In 2003, the mean waiting time was 46.5 minutes while in 2009 it was up to 58,1 minutes.
Why not just trust your family doctor?