Primary care providers save LIVES

With so many people putting off routine medical care over the last—dare I say it—almost FOUR years, I’d say it’s high time to get back with the program.

After all, for many reasons, seeing your primary care provider (PCP) might just save your life.

Let’s talk about it…

Health maintenance is important

According to a recent study, regular PCP visits is associated with a lower post-operative death risk among those needing emergency general surgery—especially, seniors.

And it’s not just a little bit of protection, either.

In fact, researchers found differences ranging from 19 to 27 percent decreases in mortality among those who saw their PCP within a year of needing surgery.

Other studies suggest that primary care visits can help predict and lower mortality in broader ways, too. This was just the first time surgical outcomes were analyzed.

And I have to say, the results are a crucial reminder that health maintenance matters.

We can’t wait until something is “broken” and expect docs to fix it quickly and effectively… just as we should never ignore something that’s broken, either.

Better health is a partnership

I’m a PCP myself and honestly, we’re the low rung on the medical establishment ladder, if you will.

Specialists are viewed as more important. But this study reiterates that primary care exerts a protective effect on patients. (That’s why you should see them on a regular basis!)

After all, working together with a PCP can help you identify and manage underlying pre-existing conditions.

Remember, primary care is meant to be preventative as well as curative. Your PCP should NOT be the person you see just to refer you to a specialist.

For me, I like to be easily accessible to my patients. I always make room for appointments and I answer e-mails regularly (even on weekends). I think of it as a partnership… even when it comes to guiding someone through something simple, like a cold.

Because PCPs should actively help you become a healthier version of yourself.

(I’m always encouraging my patients to exercise, eat in a nutritious manner, and more. But if your PCP stays “on the surface,” consider looking for a new one that’s interested in partnering with you.)

At the end of the day, the more you can do to keep yourself healthy before you have a problem, the better off you’ll be—that holds true not just for surgical outcomes, but for every health-related outcome.

P.S. One of the biggest and most notable changes that emerged from the pandemic is how we “see” our doctor. If you’re more comfortable scheduling a telehealth appointment with your PCP, check out some tips for a successful appointment in the December 2020 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“Navigating the challenges of healthcare in the age of coronavirus”).

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“PCP Visits Before Emergency Surgery Tied to Lower Mortality in Older Adults.” Medpage Today, 07/21/2023. (