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How Important Is a Family Practice Doctor?

If you’re familiar with the concept of a generalist doctor, then you know that they are able to treat all kinds of ailments, and people of all ages with relative ease. While they may not be specialized in one medical domain or another, they somehow manage to fill in the shoes of multiple doctors.

And, most importantly, once they diagnose you with something a little more complex, they’re the ones who will refer you to the appropriate physician. In this context, family care doctors are the ones who you’ll be visiting the most, as they will be the most familiar with you and your family’s medical history.

Things a Family Practice Doctor Does

You can tell solely by looking at family practice physician job openings that a family practitioner is responsible for a big number of tasks. Among their many services, a few stand out the most, such as:

  • Routine checkups, including well-baby and child visits
  • Health risk assessments
  • Immunizations
  • Screening tests
  • Healthy lifestyle counseling
  • Treatment of common chronic conditions

Apart from these potentially life-saving procedures, family practice doctors also engage in emergency care, sports medicine, and even public health concerns.

Why You Should See a Family Practice Doctor

If you have a chronic disease or condition, your family practice doctor should be the front line between you and a specialist. However, not only that, but a family doctor can also manage to keep your chronic disorder under control as long as you’ve already been to a specialist and they have already prescribed you the proper treatment.

Furthermore, your family doctor can prescribe refills for your medication so you don’t have to pay extra money to go back to a specialist for such a simple procedure. In any case, your family practice doctor should be the first medical specialist you visit for any type of problem.

Routine Exams and Other Family Doctor Responsibilities

Family medicine doctors perform various routine exams. These include annual physicals, newborn, and well-child checkups. Further examinations can even imply sports physicals, men’s health screenings including prostate exams, and female pelvic exams.

On top of that, they’re also responsible for treating common injuries or illnesses without needing to call on a specialist necessarily. Examples include simple fractures and sprains, flu and cold symptoms, pneumonia and bronchitis, stomach viruses, seasonal allergies, ear infections, and so on.

When Your Family Doctor Might Refer You to a Specialist

If you have a yet undiagnosed illness that requires special care, then your family doctor will refer you to a specialist. Even then, your family doctor and your specialist will work in tandem, each one sharing information with the other.

Your family doctor will provide the specialist doctor with important information about your medical history and existing conditions so that the specialist can do their job properly. They will also work together to coordinate your prescriptions and monitor your condition.

Some insurance policies require you to get a referral to a specialist from a family physician or internist to qualify for specialty coverage – hence this is yet another reason why family practitioners are important.

What Family Practice Doctors Usually Check

When going to your doctor, you can expect to be checked for some of the following:

  • Dermatological exam
  • Head and neck examination
  • Abdominal checkup
  • Routine blood testing
  • Vital sign checkup
  • Child screenings
  • Men and women’s specific health screenings

The Bottom Line

As you can see, a family practice doctor is 100% essential for any human being out there. They are your first line in the medical field and they’re the ones who will get to know your medical history the best and offer you the most sound advice.

Not only that, but you know you’ll have someone you can rely on to help you out when one of your family members gets sick. A specialist doctor might not care for you all that much because they don’t get to know you all that well, but a family practitioner is almost like a friend.

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