The health of the country could improve if more people did this

The health of the country could improve if more people did this

If you don’t have a primary care doctor, you’re missing out.

That’s according to research published in the Journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Of more than 70,000 American adults in a survey, about 49,000 had a primary care physician. About 21,000 did not.

Those with primary care physicians were more likely to have important screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies and received more diagnostic or preventive measures like flu shots and blood pressure readings. They also were more likely to get counseling – particularly to help stop smoking.

The researchers say if more Americans valued primary care, the health of the entire country could improve, citing the care they’d miss out on without that ongoing relationship with a doctor.

“I agree that primary care physicians provide a valuable continuity relationship with patients that increases preventive services, counseling and coordination of care, which enhance the patient experience, health and quality measures,” says Dr. Amy Arialis, a family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group. “Time constraints, underfunding of primary care, fragmented workflow and electronic medical record (EMR) burden hinder the full potential of this relationship. Further investment in primary care is paramount to ensuring we all are providing better care at a lower cost.”

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  1. Rudolph D. Smith August 14, 2020 at 4:19 pm · Reply

    Great article!!!!

  2. Victor Tamosaitis August 15, 2020 at 7:47 am · Reply

    Dr Arialis’s observation that the electronic medical record burden hinders the full potential of the patient-primary care physician relationship is interesting. It seems as though successful evidence-based treatment protocols require rigorous data collection in order to return maximum value over the long term. I would like to see a follow-up article on this subject.

  3. Lack of good healthcare coverage, or coverage at all, is likely the biggest factor for this discrepancy. If someone can’t afford the care, they’re going to wait until it’s crucial to get treated instead of starting with preventive care before it gets to that point. Universal healthcare would make America a healthier country.

  4. In addition to some type of universal healthcare, access to transportation and paid time off to see a PCP would go a long way to addressing the needs of the under-served. Even better Internet access for virtual visits would be helpful in some areas of the country. Lots of opportunities for improvement in health care delivery in this country.

About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator at Advocate Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.