Primary Care Providers: Your First Line of Defense
Who are primary care providers?
Primary care providers (PCP), which include physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, are typically the first healthcare provider you see for any non-emergency medical problem. They are specifically trained for comprehensive first contact and continuing care for patients with any undiagnosed health symptom or concern, as well as preventive care. Weeks has 12 PCP’s, including:
- General Internists—specialize in internal medicine and generally provide services to adult patients.
- Family Practitioners—as the name implies, are qualified to care for the whole family.
- Pediatric Practitioners—specialize in child healthcare, usually to age 21.
- Gynecologists—specialize in women’s health and reproductive health.
What type of special training does an Internist have?
Doctors of internal medicine focus on adult medicine and have had special study and training focusing on the prevention and treatment of adult diseases. At least three of their seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training are dedicated to learning how to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that affect adults. Although internists may act as primary care physicians, they are not “family physicians.”
What is the role of the family practitioner at Weeks?
Our family practitioners, which may include primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, provide comprehensive family care, including treating acute illnesses and chronic medical conditions. They specialize in preventive medicine while providing health education for the entire family. Having a dedicated team to care for the entire family can be very beneficial.
What are the advantages of having a primary care provider?
There are many advantages to having a dedicated PCP. They know your family and medical history, lifestyle, and habits. Your PCP will coordinate your care and act as an expert guide to the medical system, including referring you to specialists at Weeks and other facilities. They will help you prevent and detect health problems through regular office visits and help you develop and carry out a personal health maintenance and improvement program.
If I don’t currently have a PCP, whom do I contact at Weeks to learn more?
We encourage patients to establish a relationship with a PCP when they are in good health. This will ensure that we can provide you with the best care should you become sick or injured. For more information or to make an appointment with a PCP, please call 603-788-5095.
By John Ford, MD
John Ford is president of the Weeks Medical staff and practices primary care/family medicine at Whitefield Physicians Office. For more information or for an appointment, please call 603-788-5095.