Do You Need a General Practitioner or Primary Care Doctor?

Do You Need a General Practitioner or Primary Care Doctor?

General Practitioner or Primary Care Doctor

General practitioners are medical doctors who treat chronic and acute illnesses in addition to providing health education and preventive care to patients. They manage types of illness that occur in undifferentiated ways during their early stages of development, some of which may require urgent intervention. On the other hand, primary care doctors are physicians who provide the first contact for patients with undiagnosed health concerns and also continuing care for different medical conditions, not limited by organ system, cause, or diagnosis. All physicians must complete medical school (MBBS, MD, or DO). However, after graduating from medical school, graduates have to undergo postgraduate training in primary care programs such as family medicine, internal medicine, or pediatrics to become primary care physicians.

Both general practitioners and primary care doctors are very important to the health system in its entirety. However, a primary care physician is the best person to see when you have a new health concern. These health professionals usually establish personal relationships with patients, and therefore, they best understand their patients’ health history. Thus, they are an ideal choice when it comes to preventive care, health education, and new health concerns as they arise. Below is a rundown of the reasons why it is important to have a primary care doctor.


Having a primary care doctor means that you have a physician that you have seen you for everything from immunization to bellyaches to blood pressure control. In other words, you have a health resource who understands your health history and that of your family. Thus, when you get an appointment with your doctor, you don’t have to list all the medications you are taking or which ones you are allergic to. You also don’t have to explain that there is heart disease in your family. It’s all in your doctor’s records.


With a primary care doctor, you and your family can access a variety of health services. For instance, you can access screenings and preventive care, care for chronic conditions such as asthma diabetes, and acute care issues such as high fever, digestive issues, and coughs.

Early Detection of New Conditions

By having a primary doctor, it means that you have access to regular health checkups. This makes it more likely for any health issue to be detected in its earliest stages of development. In these early stages, many diseases are more easily treatable. If the new condition needs the attention of a specialist; your primary doctor will refer you to an appropriate specialist on time.

Better Communication

A primary care physician is likely going to establish a long-lasting personal relationship with you and your family. This will make visits less stressful and more productive since it will be easier for you to talk about more sensitive issues with a person you know in a familiar place than with a stranger in a strange setting.

The Takeaway

Overall, it is apparent that although general practitioners and primary care doctors have different roles, they are both very important to the entire health care system. However, the benefits of primary care doctors cannot be overemphasized. These health professionals have a deeper understanding of their patient’s health history, making diagnosis and treatment of various conditions much easier. They also offer preventive care and they can help you detect illnesses in the earliest stages of development, making the treatment of such conditions more effective and efficient. Thus, if you don’t have a primary care doctor yet, it is imperative to get one for the sake of improving your health status.

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