Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona shares importance of having primary care physician

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living Live

Did you know that adding just one primary care physician (PCP) per 10,000 people could reduce a community's mortality rate by 5 percent1?

Even though having your own PCP should be your first line of defense in the health sphere, millions of Americans considers a PCP a quaint notion, opting instead to refer themselves  directly to specialists, or not seeing any doctors at all.

On the contrary, PCPs serve a number of vital functions in our healthcare system, including providing continuity of care, coordinating efforts of specialists, and striving to keep our communities healthier overall.

When navigating the healthcare highway, seeking out a PCP should be your first priority because they retain overall responsibility for your proper care.

With that said, a PCP should be considered your lifetime partner in health, so it's crucial to select one that you can trust. Like any great relationship, communication is crucial - it's important that you feel at ease delving into the intimate details of your physical and mental health. The ideal time to shop around for a PCP is when you're in good health and have the energy to decide on a best fit for you and your family. You don't want to wait until you're sick or injured to begin establishing a solid relationship with your PCP.

Numerous studies have shed light on those who have an ongoing relationship with their PCP versus those who do not. Not only did those people with PCP's have better overall health and lower death rates, they also had lower health-related expenses, as well.  

Knowing that finding a suitable primary care doctor that you connect with can be a tedious task, take into consideration some of the tips when shopping around for a PCP:   

Ø    Ask your friends and co-workers for recommendations on who they feel would be a best fit for you.

Ø    Research a physician's credentials and medical standing.

Ø    Take advantage of hospitals' free health seminars, which often feature physicians as guest speakers. This will easily allow you to get a better sense of their personalities and how they interact with others.

Ø    Schedule a visit with the physician to gain a better sense of the doctor's bedside manner and the office to learn more about how the staff interacts with patients, ultimately getting a better feel of the work environment.

Remember, your PCP should be your partner in health, and one of the greatest benefits you can reap is the bond you create with your doctor over time. A PCP's role is to view your health beyond a symptom or illness; he/she should see the bigger picture and think long term.  

1)    "Is primary care effective?" International Journal of Health Services, http://www.jhsph.edu/sebin/m/n/2007_IJHS_Macinko.pdf)

*This is not a medical recommendation, anyone with concerns or questions about their health should contact their physician. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is a paid advertiser of Sonoran Living Live

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