“If I’m healthy, or access a walk-in clinic when I have to, why do I need a family physician?”
The short answer is that a family physician’s job goes far beyond treating you when you’re not feeling well. Here are 10 reasons why everyone needs a family physician…
They know YOU. They know your medical history and your family history. This can help them watch for red flags, monitor changes in your health over time and make more accurate diagnoses. For example, the approach your family physician may take on your second or third visit about the same issue would be different than you seeing three different doctors on three occasions because they don’t know YOUR history with this issue.
In sickness and in health… Family physicians specialize in both illness AND wellness care. Not only can they help you get over minor illnesses, they can help you maintain long term health as you experience life changes.
Your healthcare partner. Family physicians do a lot FOR you. They can help manage chronic conditions or treat acute situations like sinus infections or injuries. They can help you through a pregnancy, delivery and post-partum care. They can also perform minor surgical procedures such as mole removal or freezing a wart.
Continuity of care – Family physicians provide continuity of care before and after specialist care or hospital admission.
Big picture. A family physician sees you as a whole, not as a present illness or health care concern. Family physicians understand the many factors that make up your overall health. They are there for your physical, emotional and mental health and well-being.
Your healthcare advocate. They have many contacts with local community resources, medical resources and social services.
Trust. The relationship you build with your family physician enables them to recognize physical and emotional changes in their patients. You are taken seriously.
Expertise. Family physicians are experts at common illnesses.
Better outcomes for YOU. Patients connected to a family physician have better overall health outcomes than those that do not.
Now that you know why you need a family physician, how do you find one? Do your research. Talk to friends and find out if they like their doctor and why they do/don’t. Many communities maintain a list of physicians taking new patients (visit www.saskhealthauthority.ca and click on the Facilities & Services tab).