With National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week here, there hasn’t been a better time to consider the importance of establishing quality medical care. And what type of doctors do people see most often? If you think about it, the answer is obvious: a primary care physician. Finding the right provider is especially crucial when it comes to this medical generalist.
Think of a primary care doctor as the central office of medical care through which all other medical interactions flow, track and are organized.
The primary care doctor is the keeper (digitally, these days) of all your past conditions, all your medications, all your allergies, all your social history and life events. She will always help you out because she knows who you are and is always there for you. Because of this, she knows which medication may work best and when there should be cause for concern.
The right primary care doctor shows compassion and will often see you at a phone call's notice. No condition is too embarrassing or too inconsequential.
The right primary will ask you the difficult questions and tell you the hard truths:
- Why you shouldn’t smoke
- Why you need a certain screening test
- Why you should –or shouldn't – take a certain medication
- Why you should be seeing her more often in the coming year
Ultimately, you, the patient, are the boss and decision maker in the relationship. Your primary care doctor is there to serve you and function as a loyal advisor. The best doctor-patient relationships are built on mutual respect and trust. Once those are in place, the partnership may be sealed for a lifetime. And that's something both doctor and patient can aspire to.