What’s primary care?
A primary care provider (PCP) is your first stop for health care. You may also hear a PCP called a general practitioner. That’s because they offer a wide range of services, such as:
- Preventive care, including annual checkups
- Healthy lifestyle counseling
- Diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses
- Diagnosis and treatment of minor injuries
- Help managing chronic health conditions
- Referrals to specialists
Primary care specialties
Pick a PCP with the experience that fits your needs. PCPs may specialize in:
Types of primary care providers
No matter what type of PCP you prefer, you’ll get consistent, high-quality care. You might choose to receive primary care from a:
- Doctor of medicine (MD) – Physician with traditional medical training.
- Doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) – Physician with additional training in the musculoskeletal system and a focus on holistic care.
- Physician assistant (PA) – Medical professional with a master’s degree and training to practice general medicine.
- Nurse practitioner (NP) – Medical professional with a master’s or doctorate degree and advanced clinical training; focuses on preventive care and health education.
Why should I have a PCP?
When you see the same person regularly for care, you benefit from a long-term relationship with a provider who knows you, your health history, your habits and your goals. That means your doctor or advanced practitioner can better help you manage your health and well-being.
Protect your health by scheduling a physical exam every year with your PCP. During your exam, your doctor may:
- Check your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and breathing rate.
- Listen to your heartbeat and breathing.
- Examine your head, neck and body.
- Do screening tests that can detect health problems before you have symptoms.
- Ask about signs of depression or signs of anxiety.
- Provide routine vaccinations.
- Talk about healthy behaviors.
Medicare wellness visits
If your health care is covered by Medicare, your benefits include a welcome visit and annual wellness visits to track your health. Learn more about Medicare wellness visits with a ProHealth Medical Group provider.
How to prepare for your visit
Take an active role in your care and get more out of your doctor visits. Make the most of your time with your PCP when you:
- Know your family medical history.
- Share your medical records, including test results and immunization records.
- Bring a list of your medications, including vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter medicines.
- Bring a list of your allergies.
- Write down and bring a list of your questions.