April 20, 2021
UPMC Physician: Building a Relationship Important for Wellness
It may be hard to set time aside in your busy schedule to take care of yourself, especially during the era of COVID-19. We know you’re busy with working from home, helping your kids with virtual learning, and other interruptions to your day-to-day life. However, it’s important to still make yourself a priority, especially when it comes to your health and a good first step is developing a relationship with your primary care provider.
Finding a PCP that’s Right for You
Primary care offices are also known as health centers or a doctor’s office. These offices feature family medicine providers specially trained for treating patients of all ages. These offices may feature physicians (MD and DO), certified nurse practitioners (CRNP), and physician assistants (PA-C).
Primary care offices are:
- Open during the week, and may offer extended hours for evenings or weekends
- Your best resource for physical exams, wellness screenings, and immunizations
- Intended to manage chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, minor acute conditions like common cold, UTI, and your overall wellness
- Helpful for diagnosing problems early, and connecting you with specialists as needed for outpatient evaluation and/or testing
Choosing a PCP is a long-term commitment to your health. To get the most out of the relationship, you should consider factors such as office location, service offered, and how confident you are that you can establish a lasting relationship with the provider. Your family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers are also good resources and will be able to make sound recommendations. Finally, make sure that the PCP accepts your insurance and is affiliated with hospitals included in your health care coverage.
Seeing a primary care doctor regularly is the key to maintaining your overall health. Through regular visits, your provider gets to know you, your family history, and your lifestyle. They recommend preventive health screenings and immunizations based on your age and individual health care needs. By developing a trusted relationship with a regular doctor, you can talk honestly and openly about your health concerns.
Preparing for Your Primary Care Visit
Once you find a provider, the next step is scheduling an appointment and preparing for that first visit. The first visit is often a “new patient” visit in which the provider will get to know you better by talking with you about your lifestyle, family history, current issues or conditions, and performing a physical, which may include bloodwork. All of this information helps the provider paint a picture or your health and wellness, as well as helps establish the relationship. Preparing for is the visit is nothing to stress about and it can help you have an even better appointment. For example, you can write down a list of questions or symptoms that you may have so that you can start the conversation about your health. It would also be helpful to note the times and dates of your symptoms so you will not have to rely on your memory.
Don’t forget other important items, such as:
- Insurance card
- Co-pay that is listed on your insurance card
- Photo Identification (ID) such as a valid driver’s license
- List of current medications and/or herbal supplements you are taking
- Any completed forms that your doctor’s office may have provided you.
Don’t Delay, Schedule Today
While you may think you don’t have the time and it’s tempting to skip or put off a visit with a provider, you may be setting yourself up for potential health issues later. With regular visits, you develop a good relationship with your provider and give them the best opportunity to take excellent care of you. Don’t delay, schedule a wellness appointment today.