A new study has come out to show that almost 50% of millennials, those aged 18 to 29 years old, do not visit a general physician.
I am a general physician who provides primary care to you. This statistic not only scares me; it puts me in wonder, and in this article, I am going to explain to you exactly why.
I can relate and understand why some of you skipped out on having primary care from a general physician. You want convenience. And we are talking about comfort; we are talking about money, pricing transparency, ease of scheduling an appointment, the ability to get care online.
The most crucial reason or the most prevalent reason you do not want to visit a general physician is you are generally healthy. You do not have any serious illnesses that cause you to create a relationship with a primary care doctor.
Now, who are general physicians?
General physicians are the medical service providers who are highly trained to treat a range of non-surgical ways. They treat acute and chronic illnesses with high success.
Along with that, they provide various types of preventive measures and educates patients about various health-related issues. They are also known as primary care doctors. They are readily available, and their services are quite affordable too.
Let us take a minute to discuss urgent care centres, telemedicine, even internet medicine. Now, these are shortcuts to fill a gap within our healthcare system. All of these make sense in particularly given situations.
Urgent cares have a role within the healthcare space. If you need care very quickly but do not want to go to the emergency room because
- Your illness is not so severe.
- You do not wish for a crazy expensive bill.
- You do not want to wait for a prolonged time.
Now we must not start using these services in place of having a quality primary care physician.
Let us take antibiotics as an example. It would help if you were not taking antibiotics for a viral illness. And when you look at antibiotic use between urgent care centres and primary care doctors, you see a higher use of antibiotics at urgent care centres.
That means people are being exposed to antibiotics unnecessarily, which harms their own, including resistance and antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. Just by utilizing a different type of provider, you are going to change your healthcare outcome.
Three reasons why having a primary care doctor is significant to you-
1. The first benefit is that you are going to get holistic care. Now holistic care does not mean naturopathic care. It does not mean that the doctor will not prescribe medicine. It means a holistic treatment approach for total support.
It happens quite often that an urgent care doctor or a subspecialist will get very narrowly focused as they should do their job on precisely the illness that you are facing right at that moment.
As a primary care doctor, I need to understand how that illness fits into the incredible scope of your life as a whole person. Not just as a patient who has diabetes. You have many other things happening to you. What other illnesses do you have?
What medications you are taking. What is your family situation or life situation? Also, on mind-body disorders, there is an excellent relationship between mental and physical health. And that is an incredibly important contributor to all sorts of illnesses.
Erectile dysfunction, heart disease, high blood pressure, unless we have the proper conversation, we're never really going to know what the best treatment or options are for you.
2. The second benefit of visiting a general physician is that we get to focus on prevention. I want you to see your doctor even if you are not sick. It is so much better to build a firehouse before there is a fire. When I am talking about prevention, I am talking about making lifestyle changes - improving your diet and starting to exercise.
But there are also significant lifestyle changes that come with quitting smoking, reducing your alcohol intake to a moderate amount, improving your sleep habits. These things are so crucial to the number of years you live and the quality of your years as well.
Next is cancer screenings. We always try to catch many cancers early and treat them before they become a severe problem. Now not all cancer screening is perfect. And we cannot screen all cancers.
That is why it is so important to have a primary care doctor to understand what risks you will face. Only then can we make an individual decision based on your health and what cancers we can catch and prevent early.
Last but not least is vaccinations. Vaccines not only save lives, but they also improve our lives. And if we did not have them, the world would be worse off as a result.
3. The third benefit is hacking the system. Yes, general physicians can hack the system. We know who the quality specialist is. We know those close to where you live and are easily accessible and have reasonable prices.
We know how to decrease hospitalizations and lower emergency room visits. And the best thing about it is we know how to save you money. If you face financial hardship, perhaps we know of social work programs or financial assistance programs that can help you get the services you need at low or even no cost.
Not only reducing cost, but reducing the burden on you to have to go to the emergency room, wait all those hours, and get the same quality of care. The second example is that very frequently, my patients end up seeing a specialist who recommends a very complicated procedure, a high-risk strategy.
They do not quite understand or know what the right decision may be. Treatment A and treatment B can be both great options. But maybe only one of them is right for you.
Your primary care doctor can be the person that can help guide you in this decision. I hope you see how passionate I am about primary care and its importance to your health as a general physician. We have seen better outcomes with those who have a primary care doctor.
I know what you may be thinking. How do I get myself a good primary care doctor?
It is not that tough. General physicians are readily available near you. You need to book an appointment to get the best advice.