Why Should I Have a Primary Care Provider? From the Expert December 13, 2017 By: Nicole Gilg Gachiani, MD, MPH Having and utilizing a primary care physician can help you achieve your health goals. Primary care physicians are your first line of defense toward attaining good health. Similar to taking your car in for an oil change, having an annual physical gives your provider the opportunity to assess your health, review any risk factors you might have and help you make any necessary changes to prevent the deterioration of your health. Wouldn’t you rather have your elevated blood pressure treated at a clinic visit with a physician you know than end up in the ER with a stroke? There are many preventive tests and exams of which you may not be aware. Many diseases, such as colon cancer, do not have any symptoms until they are quite advanced. By scheduling routine cancer screenings, we may be able to find and treat diseases before you even feel sick. Primary care providers have the privilege of fostering a long-term relationship with you. This gives us the ability to get to know your personality, your family dynamics, your job pressures, and your stress level among other things. All of these factors can greatly affect your health outcomes, but these influential factors are often difficult to share with someone you’ve never met before. Developing a long-term relationship with our patients allows for coordinated healthcare. Navigating the healthcare system can be quite confusing and complicated. Your primary care provider can help you connect the dots. Your heart doctor may not be aware that you are also being followed by a kidney doctor, but your primary care provider will know. We will incorporate all of your specialists’ recommendations into one care plan, ensuring that you do not have unnecessary tests and procedures. Most importantly, your primary care provider is here to act as your advocate. Our job is to help you in any way we can!