If you don’t have a primary care doctor, you’re missing out.
That’s according to research published in the Journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Of more than 70,000 American adults in a survey, about 49,000 had a primary care physician. About 21,000 did not.
Those with primary care physicians were more likely to have important screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies and received more diagnostic or preventive measures like flu shots and blood pressure readings. They also were more likely to get counseling – particularly to help stop smoking.
The researchers say if more Americans valued primary care, the health of the entire country could improve, citing the care they’d miss out on without that ongoing relationship with a doctor.
“I agree that primary care physicians provide a valuable continuity relationship with patients that increases preventive services, counseling and coordination of care, which enhance the patient experience, health and quality measures,” says Dr. Amy Arialis, a family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group. “Time constraints, underfunding of primary care, fragmented workflow and electronic medical record (EMR) burden hinder the full potential of this relationship. Further investment in primary care is paramount to ensuring we all are providing better care at a lower cost.”