Primary care refers to your first contact with the health care system whenever you have questions or concerns about your health and wellness. Primary care is about:
- Helping people understand how to maintain their personal health and prevent illness or injury,
- Managing chronic health conditions,
- Enabling people to make informed decisions about their own health and wellness,
- Effectively coordinating more specialized care services, when necessary,
- Building a relationship with patients to best understand their individual health care needs and wishes.
A primary care provider is a health professional who is often the first person you speak to when you have questions about your health. Primary care providers play a very important role in our health care system as they often build a relationship with the patients they see and help to coordinate other health care services based on the patient’s individual needs.
After speaking with a primary care provider about your health questions or concerns, they will make an assessment of your overall health status and will provide you with options for next steps. The primary care provider may:
- Refer you to another health care provider or specialist for specialized services,
- Refer you to a lab to provide blood, stool, or other types of samples,
- Refer you to a lab or health facility to undergo diagnostic testing or imaging,
- Prescribe medications and/or treatments,
- Provide information about health care options or treatments to consider in the future,
- Schedule follow-up appointments to keep a close eye on your health status.