The Vital Role of Primary Care Providers

importance of a primary care provider
author apree health

In an era of specialized medicine and on-demand healthcare services, the role of the primary care providers (PCP) often gets overlooked. However, having a dedicated PCP can be one of the best investments you make in your health and financial wellbeing. Here’s why:

Continuity of Care with a Trusted Professional

A primary care physician serves as the central point for your healthcare needs, providing continuity of care over time. They get to know you, your medical history, and your unique health concerns, allowing for more personalized and effective treatment. Research published in the Annals of Family Medicine indicates that patients with a consistent primary care provider have lower healthcare costs and better health outcomes. (1) Establishing a PCP and building the trust of someone you feel comfortable communicating and speaking freely about health issues has also been shown to reduce urgent care and emergent care services. (5)

Preventative Care 

PCPs focus not only on treating illnesses but also on preventive care and overall whole health promotion. They help you stay up-to-date with vaccinations, screenings, and lifestyle counseling, reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults who have a primary care physician are more likely to receive preventive services such as flu shots, cholesterol screenings, and blood pressure checks. (2)

Disease Management

Because PCPs know your history and help you get your screenings, they also know when results are no longer normal and you might need an updated treatment plan. You and your PCP can create a plan of care to manage your chronic conditions keeping your care with the provider who knows you best. And while your primary care provider can refer you out to specialists as needed, they can manage most of your care. 

Cost Savings

Having a PCP can lead to significant financial savings in the long run. Research conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians shows that patients who regularly see a primary care physician have lower overall healthcare costs, including fewer hospital admissions and emergency room visits. PCPs help coordinate care, manage chronic conditions, and guide patients to the most appropriate and cost-effective treatments. (3)

Improved Outcomes

Numerous studies have demonstrated the link between having a primary care physician and better health outcomes. A systematic review published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that access to primary care is associated with lower mortality rates, improved management of chronic diseases, and increased patient satisfaction with their healthcare experience. (4)

Having a primary care physician is essential for maintaining good health and financial stability. From providing continuity of care to offering preventive services and reducing healthcare costs, the benefits are clear. By establishing a long-term relationship with a PCP, you invest in your well-being and set yourself on the path to a healthier and more fulfilling life.

  1. Bazemore AW, Petterson S, Peterson LE, Phillips RL Jr. More Comprehensive Care Among Family Physicians is Associated with Lower Costs and Fewer Hospitalizations. Annals of Family Medicine. 2015; 13(3): 206-213.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS). Available at:
  3. American Academy of Family Physicians. Primary Care Spend, Primary Care Physician Workforce, and Population Health: A Focus on Counties in the Eleven-State South. 2019.
  4. Phillips RL Jr, Bazemore AW, DeVoe JE, Weida TJ, Krist AH, Dulin MF. A Family Medicine Health Technology Strategy for Achieving the Triple Aim for US Health Care. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2015; 175(5): 890-891.
  5. Virtual Visits With Own Family Physician vs Outside Family Physician and Emergency Department Use. JAMA Network.

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