What are the responsibilities of a primary care physician?


Quick Answer

The responsibilities of a primary care physician are to provide preventative care for his patients, ensure they attend regular health screenings, to evaluate patient medical problems and to refer his patients to specialists as needed. Individuals may choose among many different types of primary care physician.

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Full Answer

Primary care physicians provide basic health care for their patients, focusing on patient wellness and the prevention of illness. Some of the types of primary care physicians are family medicine doctors, who are able to tend patients from childhood through adulthood, internists, who focus on internal medicine and also provide medical care for patients of all ages, and pediatricians, who focus on children ranging from newborns to adolescents. There are also nurse practitioners and physician assistants who have gone through different certification programs than medical doctors but who may serve as key contacts in primary physician care.

In terms of care, primary care physicians develop ongoing relationships with their patients and foster a sense that they are mutual partners in the patient's health and well-being. The ongoing relationship helps the physician to better listen to the patient's individual needs while the physician makes his own recommendation for the long-term health of the patient. They are also able to better detect sudden changes in health, to assess the urgency of these changes, and to make recommendations for specialists as needed.

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