The best time to find a primary care practitioner is when you don’t need one

January 24, 2024 Swedish Health Team

[4 min read]

  • It's important to have a primary care practitioner who knows you and your history. 
  • Having an established relationship helps your clinician personalize your care and preserve your long-term health. 
  • A Providence Swedish primary care expert explains why the best time to connect with a primary care practitioner is when we're feeling well. 

Life is busy and fast-paced, which can make challenging to find time for self-care. For lack of time, we push issues that feel minor to the back burner. But too often, those minor health issues and concern blossom into bigger problems that sometimes need immediate attention.

That’s one of the reasons that finding a primary care practitioner (PCP) should be a priority. And the best time to do that is before you need one. PCP’s play a vital role in maintaining your long-term, overall health. As the saying goes: “prevention is the best medicine” and with annual check-ups, treatment for minor illnesses, and referrals to specialists your PCP plays an important role in keeping you in the best possible health.

“It’s true that we don’t often think of it when we feel well, but it really does benefit both the patient and the clinician to establish care before a patient gets sick or has a health issue,” says Amy Deans, M.D., executive medical director of the Swedish Medical Group. “Care is more efficient and personal when there is an established relationship. “

Here are five reasons why it's important to find a primary care doctor before it's an emergency:

  • Better health outcomes. People who see a primary care doctor regularly are more likely to live longer, healthier lives. Regular check-ups can help detect health issues early, allowing doctors to intervene before conditions worsen. Having a primary care doctor also helps patients develop a long-term health plan, which can lower the risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
  • Lower costs. Visiting your PCP for routine check-ups and minor illnesses is generally less expensive than going to the emergency room or seeking specialty care. Having a primary care doctor can help save money in the long run by preventing serious health problems from developing.
  • Personalized care. Your PCP can provide you with tailored care based on your medical history and current health needs. A PCP who knows you and your family history can recommend specific screenings at specific times.
  • In-person and virtual care. PCPs now offer both in-person and virtual appointments, providing flexibility for patients. This allows for convenient care that fits busy schedules and enables patients to receive care from the comfort of their own homes. A PCP who is familiar with your medical history has a deeper understanding of your medical needs, so you can be assured that whether a visit is in-person or virtual, you’re getting the best care for you.
  • Shorter appointment wait times. Most areas of health care are facing staffing challenges, and PCPs are no different. When you establish a relationship with a PCP before you really need one, you can ensure continuity of care and avoid some of the stress of trying to find a doctor during a health crisis.

Finding a primary care doctor should be a priority for everyone. Don't wait. Prioritize your health and wellness by taking steps to establish a relationship with a PCP today.  

Learn more and find a practitioner 

Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Contact Swedish Primary Care to schedule an appointment with a primary care provider. You can also connect virtually with your clinician to review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. And with Swedish ExpressCare Virtual you can receive treatment in minutes for common conditions such as colds, flu, urinary tract infections, and more. You can use our provider directory to find a specialist or primary care physician near you. 

Information for patients and visitors 

Additional resources

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

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