Why Have a Primary Care Physician?

Published: March 09, 2018

Joshua B. Herbert, MD, Stamford Health Medical Group

I chose to specialize in family medicine because I really enjoy the combination of caring for both pediatric and adult patients. Patients often choose based on a friend or family member’s referral. But a face-to-face meeting with a prospective doctor is always a good idea. Here are some answers to some common questions about primary care physicians.

What is a primary care physician?
A primary care physician (PCP) is a specialist in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine or Pediatrics (and sometimes OB/GYN) who provides care not only as the first contact for a person with an undiagnosed health concern, but also takes ongoing responsibility for providing the patient’s comprehensive care.

Why do I need a primary care physician?
The benefit of having a PCP is the relationship that develops between the patient and his or her physician, one that is built on trust and dependability. The role of Stamford Health primary care physicians is both to promote wellness with a focus on health and prevention, and to help manage our patients’ chronic conditions and acute issues. Our primary care physicians really are the primary coordinator of a patient’s care.

What’s the difference between a family medicine physician and an internal medicine physician?
How do you know whether to select a Family Medicine specialist or Internist? While both focus on the patient’s continuity of care, Internal Medicine specialists treat adults, while Family Medicine physicians can treat children and adults, and some even offer OB/GYN services depending on the practice. When you’re choosing a new physician, I think it’s beneficial to have a consultation meeting, so you can meet face-to-face, ask questions and exchange some basic information. This allows you to assess the practice as well as the physician, and then you can really determine what’s best for you.

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