A primary care provider, or PCP, is your main point of contact for healthcare in non-emergency situations. Think of this type of healthcare provider as the quarterback of your entire health care team, the central point person whose role it is to coordinate your overall patient care, treatment and education.
Overall, your PCP is key to:
- Providing preventive care and guidance on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle
- Diagnosing and treating acute common medical conditions, such as cold, flu, infections, etc.
- Treatment and management of chronic diseases such a high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
- Determining the severity of your medical problems, so he or she can direct you to the most appropriate care provider
- Referring you to medical specialists when a condition requires more targeted treatment
In addition, a PCP ensures prescribed medications will not adversely affect other medications or supplements you may already be taking. Over time, your PCP learns your health history and what is most important to you and your long-term wellness. This high-level oversight ensures all of the treatments, medications, therapies and recommendations from various providers are as effective as possible.
Even if you are relatively healthy right now, things can and do change. This is especially true of millennials (the segment of the population born between the early 80s and the early 2000s), who are in the perfect position to establish health and wellness baselines with a dedicated primary care provider.
PCPs are usually physicians; however, physician assistants and nurse practitioners (collectively referred to as advance practice providers), who work under a qualified physician can also be your PCP. There are also different types of primary care physicians, some of which you may need at different points in your life, depending on your health care needs.
This chart identifies the different types of primary care physicians and can help you pinpoint which can help you most, depending on your health care needs.
About Dr. Colovos
Nick Colovos, MD, received degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1993, and completed his residency in emergency medicine at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Toledo Ohio in 1996. His work experiences in the academic, public and private sectors of medical care have allowed him to develop a very unique perspective on the business of healthcare and its delivery to patients.
- Program Director of Urgent Care Services
- Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia
- Assistant Clinical Professor of Family and Preventative Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta Georgia