It’s something that most people realize is beneficial, but now there’s some research to back up your hunch. Yes, there is now substantial data to suggest that having “your” doctor — a primary care physician who you know and trust, and who knows you — can result in a longer life and less money spent.
Ever heard the phrase “continuity of care?” It’s an idea that has been studied a lot recently by the University of Exeter Medical School, and it revolves around the hypothesis that keeping the same doctor leads to better health outcomes. Last month, the medical journal BMJ published the results of their studies, and the results lend a lot of credence to their idea that sticking with the same doctor is better.
Obviously, when it comes to specialized medical needs, it’s sometimes unavoidable to see a new practitioner — but for your primary care physician (or “family doctor”), the data shows that you have a lowered risk of early death if you have a long-standing relationship with them.
There are several theories for why this may be. Perhaps we’re more likely to be fully candid in disclosing what’s going on with our bodies if we feel comfortable with our doctor. Maybe it’s due to the doctor themselves getting a more complete picture of their patient and becoming able to offer medical advice customized to the holistic view they have of the patient. Whatever the case may be, there’s no denying the physical and psychological benefits of having one consistent primary doctor.
When you don’t have a main doctor who you know and trust, you’re less likely to see the doctor at all when you have a problem. And that can lead, down the line, to more complications and expensive procedures than if you had just gone in for a more routine visit earlier on in your diagnosis timeline.
Furthermore, a doctor who knows you better is going to be able to provide highly targeted, unique care guidelines that are likely to avoid run-arounds involving going out of network or undergoing a barrage of potentially unnecessary tests.
If you consistently see one doctor, they’re going to accumulate a pretty substantial body of medical data on you, meaning that there’s no need to start from scratch each time to try and gain important baseline information about your condition.
Yes, there’s no doubt that medical technology has skyrocketed in sophistication over the last couple of decades. But no matter how technologically advanced we become, there’s simply no substitute for a genuine human connection and relationship built on mutual respect and the desire to see the best outcome for someone. At Urgent 9, we’re living that ethos every single day, and we hope you’ll look to us when choosing a primary care provider.