Your primary care provider (PCP) is very important to your medical care. Everyone should have a PCP. They perform most of your routine care such as:
- Wellness check-ups and lifestyle counseling
- Annual physical exams
- Regular sick or injury visits
- Cancer and chronic disease screening
- Common chronic condition management, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
- Refer you to and manage care with specialty doctors
When your PCP finds an unfamiliar problem, they often refer you to a specialist. This type of doctor will have more knowledge about the problem than your PCP does.
They have spent extra time to learn and train in a specific area of medicine. This type of doctor will have more detailed knowledge about a problem that you might have with a specific organ. They are experts who prevent, find, and treat conditions in that field of medicine.
Here are some examples of medical specialists:
Primary care providers and specialists work together to help keep you healthy. Everyone should have a PCP, but not everyone will need to see a specialist. Your PCP will let you know when you need to add one to your team.
Your PCP manages your regular care. When an expert is needed, a specialist is there!