What Type of Primary Care Provider is Right for You?
Having a health care provider who knows you and your unique needs can be a big plus when it comes to managing your health. From birth to adolescence and adulthood, people of all ages should establish themselves as a patient of a primary care provider. Bronson has many primary care providers to choose from. Read the guidelines below to help determine which type of provider is right for you and your family.
Types of Primary Care Providers
Primary care providers — including doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants — provide preventive care, annual physicals and overall health exams as well as treat common medical conditions And, if you have a health condition that requires specialized care, your primary care provider will also connect you to a specialist and help coordinate next steps and follow-up care.
There are three types of primary care providers — pediatrics, family medicine, and internal medicine Some obstetrics/gynecology providers also serve in a primary care role.
- Pediatric providers address the primary care needs of children, newborns to 18 years of age. They provide preventive care for healthy children and treat children who are injured or ill. They specialize in childhood diseases, growth and emotional health.
- Family medicine providers are trained in pediatric care and adult medicine. They treat individuals and entire families, from newborns to the elderly, and know how relationships between family members impact their health.
- Internal medicine providers treat adults18 years and older. Internal medicine providers are often preferred by adults who need help managing one or more chronic or complex conditions.
Medical Doctors (MDs) and Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs):
- Physicians who are licensed to practice medicine complete four years of medical school and a three or more year residency in their specialty followed by examinations for licensure and board-certification. Additionally, osteopathic doctors are trained and licensed to practice osteopathic manipulative medicine.
Advanced practice providers:
- Advanced practice provider is a term used to describe a nurse practitioner or physician assistant who is trained to care for patients under the supervision of a physician. They are licensed to provide care, order diagnostic tests and prescribe many medications.
- Nurse practitioners complete a registered nursing degree program as part of a bachelor's degree. In addition, each has a master's degree from an accredited nurse practitioner program.
- Physician assistants complete a bachelor's degree and a master's level degree in a physician's assistant program.
How a Primary Care Provider Helps You
Here five ways a primary care provider can help you take care of your health:
- A primary care provider can be your first stop for care. For most health issues, you can get all the care you need at the doctor’s office. Seeing a primary care provider is quick, convenient and generally costs a lot less than an urgent care or emergency visit.
- They take care of you as you age. You build a relationship with your primary care provider and they get to know you and your medical history. Having the full picture of your health over the years allows for the best possible care.
- They monitor diseases that run in families. A primary care provider pays close attention to your family’s health history, even if they aren’t directly providing care to them. By knowing your family’ genetics and health risk factors, primary care providers may recommend preventive measures or tests for certain identified diseases.
- They are trained in mental and emotional health. A primary care provider and their team can help with depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, substance abuse, eating disorders and other mental and behavioral health issues.
- They keep a record of your health screenings and vaccinations so you don’t miss any of the tests or shots you need. And, as a Bronson patient, you’ll always be connected through Bronson MyChart to your electronic health record and all the expert resources our regional health system has to offer.
Need care now?
If you have chest pain or symptoms of a serious injury or illness, call 911 or go directly to the emergency department.
For non-emergency situations, having a primary care provider can help. They are able to give current patients tips on how to feel better or schedule a visit. You can also consider visiting one of our Bronson FastCare locations in Kalamazoo, Portage or South Haven, or Bronson Urgent Care in Battle Creek.