What is a Primary Care Provider (PCP)?
A Primary Care Provider is “A physician …, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist or physician assistant, as allowed under state law, who provides, coordinates or helps a patient access a range of health care services.” (HealthCare.Gov, 2022) Your Primary Care Provider is here to get to know you and provide you with the best care that you may need. They dig deep into knowing you as a patient and understanding what health issues you may have.
What can you expect at an annual medical visit?
An annual medical visit is for you to confer with your primary care team, address any health issues, and to have a physical exam to make sure everything is okay. Your primary care team will review your vital signs, address any concerns you may have, a head-to-toe exam of your body, and review family history with you to keep an eye on your genetic pool for any medical issues that you may have a higher chance on developing.
What should you expect your provider to do?
- Review your Health History with you: Any changes in your health or recent developments with your health.
- Vital Signs: Your doctor will check your blood pressure; check your heart rate, body temperature, and your respiratory rate.
- Visual Exam: Your provider will review your appearance for any indications of potential issues.
- Physical Exam: Your provider will do a heart exam and lung exam with a stethoscope, they will assess your abdomen and your extremities such as your joints, wrists, and arms.
- Your provider may also order laboratory tests or other screenings.
Difference between same-day appointment and a pre-scheduled appointment?
A same-day appointment is used for any medical necessity, such as an illness or an injury that may be affecting your day-to-day. A same-day appointment should not be used for any chronic illness or long-term condition that you may have.
A pre-scheduled appointment can be any routine follow-up with your primary care provider. This also allows for any pre-lab testing, gathering any information that you would like to relay to your provider. Having a pre-scheduled appointment allows your primary care provider to know your history and can help you take control of your health long term.
HealthCare.Gov. (2022, December). Primary Care Provider. Retrieved from HealthCare.Gov: https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/primary-care-provider/