Some (or most) days, it feels like there’s not enough time to get everything done.
From the moment our alarms go off until we slip back into bed, we’re in a full-on race against the clock. Between work, social outings and errands, it’s easy to find excuses to put off an appointment with our doctor.
But it’s essential to make the time to visit our family physicians, even if we’re not sick. Here are just three reasons why.
1. They ensure we receive continuous, comprehensive care. Family doctors are traditionally patients’ first points of contact for health concerns. They are licensed to treat a wide range of medical conditions, from infancy through adulthood. They also know our medical histories. This allows them to provide needed preventative care, make accurate diagnoses, better manage our chronic diseases and catch potential red flags in our health screenings.
2. They are a trusted health resource. Discussing health issues can feel awkward or uncomfortable. Having a physician we know and trust — and who knows us — can ease the process. Family doctors provide personalized care and treatment to meet our needs, including offering recommendations and referrals to specialists.
3. They save us (and our communities) money. Scheduling routine appointments with our family physicians is good for our health and bank accounts. Studies consistently show that increases in primary care spending lead to enhanced patient care, reduced hospital visits and greater health savings.
When life is busy, it can feel overwhelming or unnecessary to see our family doctor, but the long-term benefits are worth it. Whether they’re treating us for an acute illness or simply conducting our annual checkups, these physicians help us lead longer, healthier lives.
Tasha Starks, M.D., MPH is a board-certified family doctor in Jonesboro and the president of the Arkansas Academy of Family Physicians, the state’s largest medical specialty organization. For more information, visit arkansasafp.org.