By Amanda S. Penny, MD
Several recent news reports point out the growing tendency of young Americans to only seek acute medical care at an urgent care clinic rather than by visiting their primary doctor. Here are six reasons why it’s best to see your primary care provider during an acute illness.
- Your doctor has a record of your health history. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with someone new. When you visit an urgent care clinic, you have to try to remember everything, and that can be very difficult. Your primary doctor has a documented list of your medical problems. Also, if you do not see your usual doctor when you are ill, that particular illness and the details of that visit do not get recorded in your permanent health history.
- Your doctor has a record of your current medications. This record provides an opportunity to cross check medications for side effects and interactions with any new information. Regular review of your medications ensures that you are only taking the appropriate ones.
- Your doctor has a record of your last physical exam. If something changes with your exam, your physician will be able to compare it to the previous exam.
- Your doctor has the ability to provide follow-up advice through email and telephone. Stopping at an urgent care clinic simply doesn’t provide any continuity for your care.
- Your doctor has your vaccine history. Any visit gives the opportunity to ensure you have had the appropriate preventative vaccines.
- Your doctor has a personal relationship with you. Medicine has changed much over the last 10 years that I have been in private practice. Patients often consult Dr. Google or Dr. Facebook prior to making an appointment with me or with my colleagues at CMG. In order to build trust with your primary care physician, you have to build a relationship with them. This process includes both sick and well visits, asking and answering questions, and spending this time together. A strong personal connection with me or the other CMG physicians builds a relationship that recognizes any deviation from typical clinical course. In other words, if you are not improving as expected, I am available to revisit your concerns and symptoms.
Please take a moment to reflect on these points and consider them as you encounter your next illness. The doctors at Children’s Medical Group are here to help you and your family.
Article first published on NorthsideSun.com