Why Primary Care Leads to A Longer, Healthier Life

Though traditional primary care has seen ups and downs in popularity, it’s still as important as ever before. This is true for everyone, whether you’re 23 or 83, healthy or battling chronic illness. In fact, studies have shown that those who have a primary care provider will live longer (like this study here.) We spoke with our very own Miki Macdonald, FNP, and Kathy Bouton-Semmel, PA-C, to figure out why this might be.

It’s tailored to you.

It only takes a few minutes with our providers to realize they see you as far more than a collection of symptoms or illnesses. Rather, you’re a one-of-a-kind person with unique needs, living situations, and priorities. Because your provider knows you and has your back, they create care plans that fit you and your circumstances. “If you can’t swallow pills, we will find you a liquid. If we know you are stressed about high copays for PT, we will figure something out,” Macdonald explains. Bouton-Semmel agreed, adding, “Primary care is about relationships. What is unique about primary care is that we direct every aspect of their healthcare needs.” When patients and providers work together, providers can better direct realistic and effective care, and patients can stick to a plan that works.

Care is a call or click away.

We’re all guilty of putting things off, even if we know we shouldn’t. This can often apply to our health. However, if you have an established “home base” for your healthcare needs, you’re more apt to make the call and seek care when problems arise. Concerns are addressed quickly and illness doesn’t linger in the background, taking a long-term toll on your health. Those without a provider face a greater (and often very overwhelming) challenge of finding and accessing care. They push their health to the limits, too stuck to make a call or take action.

Macdonald advises, “Whenever possible, it’s better to go to your primary care clinic because they know the story of your health and they know you as a person. However, there is time and a place for Walk-In clinics. For example, if you need immediate care after-hours and your primary care facility is closed.” If you’re feeling stuck in your health, any step towards seeking help is a positive step.

Yes, even if you’re “healthy.”

When you’re living symptom-free and have no health concerns, it’s easy to feel like the annual trip to your PCP is unnecessary. Macdonald, like most PCP’s, assures patients this is not the case. “These visits are a medical checkpoint. They allow us to know you well vs. unwell. If I’ve seen a patient once per year for 10 years and they schedule a second appointment that year, that already raises a red flag.”

Bouton-Semmel also highlighted the importance of preventative care. It’s not just about addressing issues, but proactively preventing them. She adds, “Yes, often the 20’s and 30’s crowd may not have a lot of health care needs, but sooner or later a problem may develop, and the patient will be glad they have established a relationship with a medical provider who knows them and can take ownership of their care.” And primary care is not just about your physical health. “We are taking care of the whole person, body and mind!”

Your health shouldn’t be put on the backburner. Take a step towards a healthier future by finding the right PCP for you.

St. Joseph Primary Care Practices

Need a Primary Care Doctor or Provider? 207.907.3100