Did you know that there are studies that show that people who identify a primary care physician as their usual source of care are healthier, regardless of their initial health or various demographic characteristics (Starfield et. al 2005)? However, due to the current state of today’s healthcare system, most people correlate personal primary care experiences to long wait times, lack of available appointments and short appointments or encountering issues with insurance. Especially for seniors, these issues become more obvious and have greater impact on the patient’s health. So what are the ingredients of a good primary care experience?
Our lives certainly encompass a lot more than can be expressed in the confines of an exam room, but it’s important that your primary care provider has a good understanding of your goals and challenges as it pertains to you living your healthiest life. Your primary care team should know you: What is important to you? Who is important to you? What are your concerns? What are your hopes and goals? What are your challenges? Take a minute and ask yourself if your primary care doctor knows these things about you.
For some, health can be complicated, and for others, more straightforward, but either way, as you get older, your health is increasingly more important to stay on top of; you need to see your primary care provider when you are healthy, and not just when you are ill. They should be aware of any and all concerns you have or issues you’ve had in the past, whether it be medical, social or emotional. All of these details make up your whole health and it is important that the care you receive during your older adults years is comprehensive.
Primary care is a great place to integrate the physical and emotional aspects of your care. Ideally, your primary care team will be able to offer emotional support, mental health services, and even offer classes to enhance your fitness and overall well-being, or at least be able to connect you to these types of resources in your community. The bottom line is that you should have a relationship with your primary care doctor, and be treated as a person and not just a patient. Primary care like this exists, and we, as a community, need to start demanding more of it. It’s about humanity, it’s about quality, and most of all, it’s about you.
At Iora, we spend time to listen to every patient’s needs and help them manage health in the way they feel comfortable with. Interested in learning more about our approach to primary care? Ask questions, schedule a tour or join us today!