Your primary care physician (PCP) is your own personal physician, providing you or your child with routine and ongoing care. Your PCP generally provides you with most of your medical care unless you require specialized treatment for a health problem, at which time he will refer to a specialist and help coordinate your treatment.
Your relationship with your PCP will likely be ongoing and may continue through most of your life. As with any important relationship, your primary care relationship is built on effective and open communication.
Typically, your primary care doctors will be identified as family medicine, internal medicine or pediatric doctors. In some practices you may have the option of having your care delivered by a nurse practitioner or a physician's assistant.
Primary care may include:
- Health and wellness promotion
- Routine physicals and check ups
- Health maintenance and disease prevention
- Patient education
- Diagnosis and treatment common illnesses
- Diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses
- Coordination of care
- Referrals to specialists
- Maintenance of health records