The Definition of A Family Doctor
A family doctor in Wichita KS and in every part of the World is a health care practitioner who sees people that have common medical problems. This person is also commonly called a Primary Care Provider (PCP). Your PCP is often involved in your care for a long time and will help to navigate the complexities of specialty care when necessary. An older term, general practitioner, is commonly used as well. Unlike a family doctor, who specializes in primary care and completed a full 3 year residency, the general practitioner (GP) only completed one year of internship.
The role of your family doctor in Wichita is to…
- provide counseling on preventive care
- teach about healthy lifestyle
- diagnose and treat medical problems (like hypertension)
- recommend dietary changes and interventions
- provide cost effective procedural care (joint injections, mole removal and more)
- make referrals to medical specialists and coordinate care when necessary
Most of this care is provided in an outpatient setting but occasionally you may need to be admitted. Your PCP may provide care for you an an in-patient but more often he or she will have a hospitalist (someone who only sees patients in the hospital setting) take care of you. It’s best to have one relationship with a PCP that you trust over a long period of time. The more your family doctor, for instance, knows about you, the better care he or she can provide you.
There are several types of Primary Care Providers:
- Family Practitioners are doctors who have completed a family medicine residency and are board certified for this specialty. The scope of their practice includes children and adults of all ages and may include minor surgery.
- Pediatricians are doctors who have completed a pediatric residency and are board certified, or board eligible, in this specialty. The scope of their practice includes the care of newborns, infants, children, and adolescents.
- Internists are doctors who have completed a residency in internal medicine and are board certified, or board eligible, in this specialty. The scope of their practice includes the care of adults for many different medical problems.
- Obstetricians/gynecologists are doctors who have completed a residency and are board certified, or board eligible, in this specialty. They often serve as a PCP for women, particularly those of childbearing age.
- Nurse practitioners (APRN) and physician assistants (PA) are practitioners who go through a different training and certification process than doctors. Often they may be your key contact in some practices.
When choosing a family doctor you should consider the following
- How friendly are their staff? Are they helpful? Are they quick to respond to calls?
- Are the office hours published? Are they convenient?
- Are they able to provide costs of services?
- Are you able to reach your provider by email or text?
- Do you prefer a provider who focuses on disease prevention and wellness or on disease management?
- Does the provider have the ability to order tests? Are they available to order advanced testing from national labs?
- Do they tend to refer frequently to specialist or tend to provide a broad scope of services?
- What do others say about the provider?
- Does the provider view your relationship as a true partnership?
- Are they willing to provide consultation by phone or allow you to interview them before becoming a patient?
- Are they able to provide procedural care: IUD insertion, lesion removal, biopsy, joint injection, endoscopy etc.?
- Are they actively involved in clinical research?
- Do they keep up with the latest developments in medical care?
When choosing your primary care provider in Wichita KS, it’s important to consider how this person views their relationship with you, how accessible they are to you, and how willing they are to work with you on your issues to achieve your goals. Bottom line: your health is your most important physical asset and you deserve a doctor who feels the same.