Primary Care Physicians and Specialists

Anyone who has been diagnosed with a chronic illness is very familiar with the range of medical specialists required to manage a long-term medical condition.

I have had up to ten medical specialists, at any given time, to manage my multiple chronic conditions. It’s actually a full-time job to keep on top of scheduling appointments with that many medical providers. Such specialists have received the most training about any given diagnosis. In addition, they have the most updated knowledge bases about available treatment options.

Although it is important to schedule routine medical appointments with your specialists, I also think that it is essential to pay attention to keeping appointments with your primary care physician. He/she typically “sees the big picture,” in terms of your overall healthcare management.

For example, it doesn’t make much sense to treat multiple sclerosis, but fail to detect breast cancer because you didn’t schedule your yearly mammogram. In addition, primary care physicians are essential for integration and synthesis of your healthcare.

I am very thankful to have an outstanding primary care physician. He astutely monitors my compliance with routine, preventative forms of health care screenings. He regularly also asks about my appointments with my specialists. Should any additional health concerns arise (say it isn’t so), he’ll refer me to the most appropriate soecialist.

If we lived in an ideal world, there would simply be just one location where individuals with chronic illnesses could go to manage the complexity of their medical concerns. Although such centers aren’t necessarily yet available, finding a competent primary care physician is the next best alternative.

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