University of Pennsylvania Health System

Penn Health and Wellness

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Importance of Primary Care Physicians

Generally speaking, people in good health rarely need medications or have the need to see a specialist. So it’s probably natural that most give little thought to selecting a Primary Care Physician (PCP).

Ngozi Onuoha, MD
Ngozi Onuoha, MD
At some point, though, everyone is going to feel under the weather, which might call for a medical opinion. This is where and when it makes sense to have a Primary Care Physician you can trust and who can act as the first point of contact into a health care system. A PCP can provide preventive care, teach healthy lifestyle choices, identify and treat common medical conditions and make referrals to medical specialists, when needed.

In fact, many patients, once they find a PCP they really like, stay with that physician for decades. With this kind of long-term relationship, PCPs develop a baseline for your wellbeing and really get to know you and your family, allowing for optimal management of your total health. The relationship you build with your primary care doctor is one of the most important you’ll ever have.

“A Primary Care Physician is essential to help an individual navigate to good health and stay healthy; preventing disease by identifying risk factors; coordinating and managing chronic disease care for longevity and a better quality of life,” says Ngozi Onuoha, MD, a primary care physician at Penn Internal Medicine Mayfair.

What Makes Penn Unique?

From childhood through the rest of your life, Penn primary care physicians and staff listen to your special concerns and help you make informed decisions about maintaining your health. Penn providers partner with patients to develop personalized goals and wellness plans to meet each individual’s specific health needs.

With a comprehensive approach and broad knowledge of each organ system and disease type, Penn PCPs emphasize health education, appropriate screenings and prevention and care of chronic diseases. When the time comes for you to choose a primary care physician, you should consider your specific needs as well as those of your family.

At Penn, you can choose from several different types of primary care:
  • Family Medicine: Caring for the whole family in a variety of areas including obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and internal medicine.
  • Internal Medicine: Generally caring for adults, treating a wide variety of general and chronic conditions.
  • Pediatrics: Compassionate and personal care for children from birth to age 18.
  • Adolescent Care: A team of physicians focused on the specific needs of young men and women between the ages of 12 and 30.
Learn more about Penn primary care locations and how Penn works with you to ensure each visit is as productive as possible by visiting our Patient Resources page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea in theory. In practice it's not realistic. I chose a primary care physician when I had an HMO plan. The doctor was always booked up with "preventive services" and "annual exams; research does not support the value of these appointments and in fact the SGIM recommends against routine tests for asymptomatic adults. If I felt "under the weather" I was referred to someone else in the practice (typically the newest, most inexperienced, most naive doctor) or to an Urgent Care center or even the ER. Even then, the doctor spent the appointment time trying to sell me on preventive services rather than focusing on the problem at hand. I finally got into a low-end concierge plan to get the kind of services described in this article, which is incredibly misleading about the reality of the medical world. Every primary care doc should read Overdiagnosed by Gilbert Welch.

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