Friday, November 14, 2014

Cheers to the PCP!

Specialty expertise others provide is at times invaluable, but I will always have great respect for the kind of (maybe old fashioned) doc who takes care of the whole patient.  I feel that in our era of super specialty medicine, the primary care doctor does not get his or her due.  Here is why the general doc should be respected and applauded . . .

  • When you bring up a problem to a PCP, you will rarely hear her say that problem is not under her care.  She won't say, "I am a ____ doctor.  You should ask your primary care doctor."  She will do her best to take care of it.
  • She takes care of 10 problems at each visit, often for less reimbursement than your specialist who manages one or two medical issues.
  • The PCP takes care of a person, not a heart or a kidney or a bone.  She appreciates that adding a medication for one organ may have impact on another.  
  • The PCP knows your values and preferences.  She doesn't practice one-size-fits-all medicine.  She will do her best not to prescribe medications or interventions that don't fit with your values or are impossible.  She knows that since you can't possibly take in a low sodium, low carb, low protein diet without wasting away and so doesn't require this of you, whatever your medical conditions.  
People go into primary care medicine because they care about people.  They place less emphasis on being an expert on one thing and more emphasis on the big picture.  Doing so isn't always easy, but it is rewarding.  For these reasons, I hope that the primary care professions receive the kudos they deserve.