There are many benefits to having a primary care doctor. Your primary care doctor acts as the primary coordinator of your care, explains Cory Rohlfsen, MD, Nebraska Medicine internal medicine specialist. He or she will make sure all of your general health care maintenance is handled – things like annual exams, lab tests and preventive screenings. Your primary care doctor also knows your family history so he or she can ensure you get the correct preventive tests at the right time.
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Your primary care doctor can be a family medicine doctor or an internal medicine doctor. The important thing, says Dr. Rohlfsen, is that he or she “is someone you trust, who’s willing to listen to you and will partner with you.”
But if I feel fine, why do I need to go to a doctor, you may ask. There are many chronic diseases that have no symptoms until they have reached advanced stages. Our goal is to identify potential problems before them become more serious or life threatening, he says.
When you’re not feeling well and it’s after your doctor’s regular office hours, sometimes it can be difficult to decide where to go – an Immediate Care Clinic or an emergency room. Immediate care is good solution for minor illnesses and injuries, says Dr. Rohlfsen, things like colds, fever, flu, rashes and mild infections. Situations that would warrant a visit to an emergency room include more serious problems such as shortness of breath, chest pain, slurred speech, confusion or a severe headache that comes on suddenly.
In this brief video, Dr. Rohlfsen discusses these topics and more in greater detail.