Ways Your Family Doctor Helps You
Hi, thank you for coming back for the latest edition of Beyond Primary Cares blog; where I highlight healthy and fun recipes, healthcare news, advice for medical conditions, as well as how membership for care works! Dr. Jeff O’Boyle is the owner of Beyond Primary Care, which is a new approach to family medicine and addiction medicine that creates the time and space your healthcare deserves.
Beyond Primary Care is the only Direct Care clinic serving patients in Ann Arbor and throughout Washtenaw, Livingston, and Wayne County giving families and employers peace of mind with healthcare costs by providing affordable, accessible, and authentic primary care services.
The primary purpose of the blog is to introduce healthy lifestyle concepts and answer common questions I receive from patients that I believe are important. I want to start discussions that will help educate, benefit, and improve your well-being.
In this blog post, I wanted to talk about family medicine and what exactly can your family doctor (such as myself) do for you.
Family doctors are trained to practice a spectrum of comprehensive primary care medicine ranging in ages from newborns, toddlers, teenagers, and through adults including end-of-life care. I like to say we take care of people at all ages and stages, guiding males and females through the complexity of human health and helping coordinate care of their health.
Why such a broad age range? That allows your family doctor to better know you and your family over what is hopefully an extended period of time- years to decades. Not just days to weeks. Family doctors don’t just see you when you are ill and at your worst. This continuity allows us to give you that longitudinal care which can help aid diagnosis, understanding, and treatment of any medical condition far more than someone just seeking that ‘one-off’ or ‘one-time’ visit.
Imagine you love your car. You depend on it. In return for continued performance you have to put periodic maintenance into it such as oil changes, new tires, new brakes, etc. You could go to a different auto shop every time.
The mechanic who doesn’t know your car may lift the hood and start tinkering with the engine even if it’s the radio that’s making the noise because he doesn’t do radios, he does engines.
But, like any other process, you want trust. Trust that the mechanic is going to recognize you (and your car) every time you go in and can be counted on to tell you when there may be a forthcoming issue. You also want that person to be approachable and genuine in their assessments and responses.
In much the same way, you want trust, sincereness, and consistency with a family doctor. These are attributes of a family medicine physician, not urgent care or other ‘one-time visit’ clinics.
Family doctors specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of acute and chronic conditions.
Acute issues such as:
- Urinary tract infections
- Colds / congestion
- Skin wounds that needs stitches
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath and so much more.
It is our goal to try to keep you out of the emergency rooms, and instead in the familiarity of your home and family.
Chronic issues Family Doctors treat include:
- Thyroid in-balances
- Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and diagnosis and treatment of suspicious skin spots
- Anxiety and other mental health concerns
- high blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Chronic pain and so on.
Not Just Sick Visits
Don’t let all those illnesses distract you though! Family doctors are not just there for the ‘what if’ scenarios, giving you only that ’reactive’ healthcare that is part of America’s cost control problem. Family doctors are ‘PROactive ‘ physicians.
This is why we encourage ALL of our patients to have at minimum yearly physicals were we can have a conversation about what we can do together to keep you healthier, longer. Infants and children often times have to be brought in multiple times a year for wellness checks to make sure they are growing properly and meeting milestones to keep up with their peers. There are few other physician specialties that actively work to keep you continuously healthy than family doctors.
Keeping It Simple
Family doctors are not referral specialists. Referral rates to specialists in the United States are estimated to be at least twice as high as in Great Britain. Family doctors can help you control your healthcare costs through the elimination of unnecessary referrals to medical specialists.
As you can see, a good family doctor can cover 95% of all medical conditions. Family physicians knowledge is expansive. Because of this eclectic knowledge base, there is less likely a chance of the proverbial ‘hammer and nail’ approach than you may find with more specialized, narrowly focused physicians.
Life Expectancy Increases
You will also live longer with a primary care physician! If you take a population of 10,000 and add a family doctor, there is a statistically significant drop in the death rates.
With family doctors your care will be individualized and engaged with a guided decision making approach.