LEXINGTON A primary care physician is not just for sick visits. Primary care providers are an integral partner in the patient’s healthcare team – whether for an annual well-patient physical or treatment for an unexpected illness. Establishing care with a primary care provider is extremely important not just for patients, but for their specialty care providers as well.
Creating a primary care relationship is not only important for the patient’s health, but it also improves the ability of a specialist or other members of the healthcare team to respond to a patient’s needs and unique issues. “Regular checkups with an established primary care provider allow patients to form a relationship with a physician who can identify potential lifestyle changes for their health. Through annual exams and preventive screenings and tests, the primary care provider can identify risk factors and potential health problems early, and chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are much more treatable when caught early,” says Eiyad Alchureiqi, MD, Lexington Clinic primary care physician at Lexington Clinic Beaumont.
Lexington Clinic primary care providers work with their staff and referring specialists to keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes it is a challenge for patients to consider a visit to the doctor outside of when they are ill. However, encouragement from specialists to establish a primary care relationship will improve the patient’s care, and it is essential for patients to understand how this benefits their health now and in the future.
Patients are sometimes uncertain of when they should visit their primary care physician, when urgent care is needed, and when a visit to the emergency room is in order. Helping patients understand the difference between these types of care can help the patient when an unexpected health issue occurs. It is a common misconception of patients seeking treatment for a sudden illness or injury that the emergency room is the only place for treatment. While they will find treatment in the emergency room, there are other options for faster and more personalized treatment if the issue is not serious. Upon further assessment of a patient’s condition, they may be referred to an appropriate specialist.
Lexington Clinic has more than 50 primary care providers, at 10 different locations, throughout Lexington, Versailles, Nicholasville, and Richmond. These include providers in family medicine, internal medicine, internal medicine/pediatrics, and pediatrics and also include Walk-In/ Urgent Care. With this wide array of primary care providers, Lexington Clinic makes it easy for referring physicians and patients to select a primary care provider that best fits the patient’s individual needs in a convenient location. Through Lexington Clinic’s Referral Nurse program, a specially-trained referral nurse is available to assist referring physicians find a provider that is best suited to a patient’s needs. The Referral Nurse will connect referring physicians with the provider’s office to schedule the patient’s appointment. “With our connected electronic health record system, patients can transition easily between physicians within the Lexington Clinic network when necessary,” says Andrew H. Henderson, MD, Lexington Clinic chief executive officer and a primary care physician with Internal Medicine at Lexington Clinic.
“Many patients establish a lifelong relationship for themselves, and often for several generations of their family, with their primary care provider. There is a sacred trust in these relationships, resulting in patients feeling free to present their fears, hopes, and dreams about life and death,” says Henderson. “We value these relationships and recognize this as an essential component in providing our patients the best possible care.”
MANY PATIENTS ESTABLISH A LIFELONG RELATIONSHIP FOR THEMSELVES, AND OFTEN FOR SEVERAL GENERATIONS OF THEIR FAMILY, WITH THEIR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER.
When a Patient’s Care Can’t Wait
Schedule an Appointment with a Primary Care Provider
High blood pressure
Annual wellness visits and physicals
Routine follow-up of chronic illnesses
Pain that is not new
Visit an Urgent Care Treatment Provider
Minor illness or injury
Sprains and fractures
Cuts and lacerations
Urinary tract infections
Cold, flu, or bronchitis
Sore throat or earaches
Abnormal blood pressure without other symptoms
Go to the Emergency Room
Possible stroke symptoms: facial droop, debilitating headache, numbness or weakness in leg or arm
Head injury with loss of consciousness
Bleeding during pregnancy
Fracture through the skin
Severe abdominal pain
Any injury that seems life or limb-threatening