A primary care physician is a medical professional who is entrusted with directing the course of care for a given individual. In decades past, primary care physicians were commonly referred to as family doctors. This was the professional that patients turned to for routine medical screenings, as well as treatment for any conditions that might arise. Today, primary care physicians play a critical role in helping individuals reach and maintain an optimal level of health.
One of the most important aspects of primary care involves routine screenings and physical examinations. This is a setting in which a physician is able to gather information and data used to compile each patient's individual medical record. It is also a time to discuss any questions or concerns that a patient may have and to address any medical issues at play. Over time, patients develop an ongoing relationship with their primary care physician, and an incredible volume of information is compiled within their medical record. That makes it easier to detect changes in a person's health over the course of time, and to determine the best way to treat issues as they arise.
Primary care can address a wide range of health needs and forms the base of an individual's medical care. That said, there are certainly instances in which the services of a specialist are required. In such cases, the patient's primary care physician will make use of his or her professional connections to help find a specialist that can assist the patient with that particular set of needs. Once a course of treatment is been chosen, information is shared between the primary care physician and specialist, and becomes integrated into the patient's personal medical records.