A Primary Care Provider is a healthcare provider that you consider the person in charge of coordinating your healthcare from screening to intervention. You see this provider regularly even if you aren't sick as a way to assess your health risks.
There is much more to staying healthy than simply treating disease. Lifestyle habits you develop can impact your health in the future, and some diseases must be screened for because they can be present without any outward symptoms. Most people understand this, but it bears repeating that a Primary Care Provider can help you identify tests you need while avoiding those you don't.
Primary Care Providers are usually family medicine or internal medicine providers. We generally term these practitioners as working in "primary care." They are specially equipped to coordinate your care amongst specialists and provide care and screening for common diseases.
Primary Care visits go by many names. Some providers call them "check-ups" or "screening visits." Some providers prefer "Health Care Maintenance" or "Primary Care Visit." These all basically mean the same thing, sitting down to talk with your provider about testing and counseling designed to keep you healthy and identify disease prior to the onset of symptoms.
This will vary based on the your age, gender, and risk factors. The major benefit of having a primary care provider is that they can assess these factors and offer tailored counseling for the individual. A list of screening topics is available on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force website.
Every screening test has both benefits and harms. Tests have varying levels of accuracy and a test result that is incorrect can have detrimental effects. Secondarily, tests that don't change the treatment plan or outcome are not beneficial tests. Lastly, overtesting can result in interventions that don't improve health but might result in other disease. This is a complicated topic but discussing the harms and benefits of individual screening tests is a major function of a Health Care Maintenance visit.
Quite possibly. If you are not up to date on certain immunizations then these will usually be discussed and updated at these visits. If you are concerned about a specific immunization please ask your primary care provider about it.
Modern medicine's understanding of the data behind preventive care is changing rapidly. It can be hard for providers to keep up, and doubly hard for patients, but there is mounting scientific evidence that physical exam maneuvers are poor screening tests at best and do not add benefit to most screening. Additionally, many lab tests that were routinely done yearly in the past are now done much less frequently and in some cases not performed at all in low-risk patients. In order to improve healthcare we must follow where the data leads, and the data leads away from routine testing.
Yes. The data is overwhelming that tobacco use is the root cause of the largest portion of disease in the United States and smoking leads to about 450,000 early deaths worldwide every year.
Absolutely. If you have an established relationship with a primary provider that is great. If you don't, the SEL Health Clinic would be happy to serve as your Primary Care Provider, or we would be happy to recommend one to you should you prefer.
Please fee free to call the SEL Health Clinic at (509) 338-3800 if you have a question that isn't addressed and we would be happy to answer it.
To contact the Health Clinic in Pullman, please call our front desk at 509.338.3800.
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Friday • 7:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
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