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Healthcare’s Front Line: Primary-Care Physicians
Unlike much of health care in the United States, which focuses on curing disease, the role of primary care physicians is to focus on preventive medicine, on preventing the disease from developing in the first place. They do this by monitoring the health of their patients, educating them about dietary and exercise habits, and referring them to specialty care when necessary. The difference? Primary care physicians, trained in a number of different medical disciplines, practice preventive medicine, not crisis medicine.
Primary Care Physicians Role in Healthcare
Seeing the same patients and their families for much of their lives allows primary care physicians to develop a rapport with their patients and be especially familiar with the physical, psychological and lifestyle factors important to their health. It is therefore crucial that primary care physicians are given accurate information about the lives of their patients, ranging from emotional states and lifestyle choices, to marital status and dietary habits.
Armed with this information, primary care physicians seek to improve their patients’ health by recommending certain steps to be taken and educating them on why these steps are important. They can also refer you to a specialist when necessary, when they are not able to treat various conditions. When you are referred to a specialist, your primary care physicians is kept abreast of the care and treatment you receive. For this reason, many people refer to the primary care physicians as the patient’s gatekeeper.
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