The Role of General Practitioners in Health Care
General practitioners provide primary care with a focus on a specialty such as pediatrics and geriatrics. Ideally, people should visit a general physician at least once per year for an annual physical examination. Of course, patients are also welcome to schedule appointments as often as they would like to address any health concerns ranging from skin outbreaks to the flu.
A family doctor appeals to married couples who have children. Such a physician typically specializes in internal medicine with a thorough understanding of genetics. After all, many common diseases and other health concerns are hereditary. Cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Huntington’s disease and down syndrome are among many genetic disorders that are understood quite well in the medical community. Therefore, family doctors can provide accurate diagnosis and treatment of medical issues that affect one or more members of a given family. Detailed medical history reports are usually kept on file for an entire family that visits the same general physician.
A doctor with No specialty usually appeals to an individual who is single and does not have any children. In fact, such a physician mostly works with relatively healthy young adults who have little concerns about their overall wellbeing. For example, a college student may visit such a doctor just for a physical checkup that’s required for participation in athletic programs.
Finding the right type of general practitioner may be limited by a patient’s health insurance. Most insurance companies have partnerships with health care networks that include specific hospitals, clinics and other facilities that offer medical services. Therefore, patients would have to select doctors from a given health care network in order to save money on appointments. Visiting a provider out of the network of a health insurance may come with premium costs.
Health insurance also regulates visits to specialists who provide services that general practitioners do not. For example, chiropractors and physical therapists are specialists who focus on treating problems with the muscles and bones. A patient who has an injury from an accident or sports would be referred to such specialists by a general physician.
The role of general practitioners is to provide long-term monitoring of patients’ health. Such physicians are also trained to identify serious medical concerns through standard laboratory tests such as fasting blood panels and urine analysis. After analyzing the results from the lab specimens, general practitioners make recommendations on changes in lifestyle, diet, exercise and other habits that impact health.