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What is a Primary Care Doctor?

6 mins read

Spend a few minutes reading up on the world of health care and you’ll come across this phrase: a primary care doctor. And the phrase itself makes sense. A primary care doctor is someone you see first when you have a problem, or to get a routine check-up.

It’s when you toss in the other words that things get confusing for patients. Who are “internists”? Is a primary care provider different than a primary care physician? Where do pediatrics fit in? And what happens when your health insurance doesn’t offer the coverage for routine checkups with your primary care physician? Let’s answer these questions to make sense of all the different words you’re likely to encounter.

 

What is the Difference Between a Primary Care Physician and a Family Doctor?

A “family doctor” is a doctor who doesn’t specialize in either children or adults. For example, a doctor who specializes in children is known as a pediatrician. Typically, a primary care doctor for “adults” is known as someone in internal medicine. But specializing in family medicine means that the doctor doesn’t specialize in either/or. They’re capable of seeing both adult and child patients. “Family medicine” refers to the practice of examining and treating both age groups.

What about the phrase “primary care doctor”? This refers to the doctor with whom the patient has the most immediate relationship for basic care. For example, a child can have a primary care doctor who is also a pediatrician or a family medicine doctor. Similarly, an adult can have a primary care doctor who specializes in internal medicine or is a family medicine doctor.

 

What Does a Primary Care Doctor Do?

A primary care doctor can help with preventative care and other basic health care needs. Unless you have an emergency, they’re the ones you see first if you have an issue that you need remedied.

Think of the primary care doctor as your first line of defense in the battle to maintain wellness. They’re the ones you see for checkups, or even during the management of your long-term chronic conditions. If you do have medical needs that venture outside their realm of expertise, they can then offer you a referral to a specialist who can pay closer attention to your specific issues.

 

Why is Primary Care So Important?

There isn’t one particular reason; instead, there are all sorts of reasons that primary care can be so important.

 

  • Preventative care. There’s an old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s certainly the case with many ailments. Having a good relationship with your primary care doctor will help ensure that they’re aware of your issues, and that they can step in and offer preventative care when necessary.
  • A primary care doctor, especially one who handles family medicine, can advise you on the immunizations you or a child may need in certain situations. They can help you navigate the complex world of medical history and medical conditions to understand what your best options for prevention may be.
  • Patient-specific needs. When you have specific needs due to your individual medical status, those are very private needs. No patient wants to constantly switch between gynecologists or internal medicine doctors, after all. To do so can be counterproductive to good care. It also makes navigating the world of medicine much more difficult for each patient.
  •  

Why is Primary Care so Important?

 

Patients of all ages require a primary care physician. For someone young, that may be a doctor who focuses on a family practice. For someone old, it may refer to a geriatrician. But the point is simple: it’s good to have a primary care physician that you can depend on. Someone who knows your history, knows you, and understands what’s important when it comes to your treatment.

 

There’s a temptation to view primary care physicians as “generalists.” People who might not know as much about specific health conditions that you might suffer from. And in many cases, that is true. There is a reason a primary care physician is typically not someone who specializes in a specific type of ailment, or a specific type of patient. Their role is to handle a wider range of knowledge, and then hand over a referral when necessary.

 

It’s also important for you to have some confidence in the people you work with. It’s your health, after all. As you familiarize yourself with your primary care physician, they can handle relatively routine problems like high blood pressure. You’ll get to know their offices and their office hours. As you build familiarity, the entire process of having a routine checkup will feel that much more natural to you.

 

Understanding Other Words in the Medical Field

Because there are so many terms thrown about these days, it’s important for patients to have a clear understanding of who does what. The more you know about these terms, the better you’ll be able to grasp the different quirks of getting your own health taken care of. Let’s look at some of these:

 

  • OB-GYN: This stands for Obstetrics and gynecology.
  • Obstetricians: Separate from an OB-GYN. As WebMD notes, a gynecologist is a doctor specializing in the reproductive health of women. Obstetricians help women during their pregnancy, as well as after the child is born, and can also deliver babies. An OB-GYN refers to someone who handles both specialties.
  • “Board-certified.” Board-certified refers to, according to the American Board of Medical Specialties, “specialty-specific training beyond medical licensure.” Typically this is relevant for medical specialties, and may not be as relevant when consulting with a primary care physician. In that case, a proper medical license is what you’ll want to be focused on.
  • Geriatric: This refers to the care of the elderly. There are many medical professionals who specifically handle elder care.

 

How Do You Know Which Kind of Physician is Right For You?

Between all of the terms—family doctor, primary care physician, internal medicine, etc.—it can be easy to get lost in the vast dictionary of the medical world. But when you zoom in to each individual term, you’ll see that it’s not nearly as difficult to navigate as you think.

 

One of the most important aspects to realize is that having a primary care physician will help you navigate this world. You shouldn’t, after all, be expected to handle all of the research yourself. A family doctor—or a primary care physician—can be your first point of reference for making sense of what needs to happen. It’s this person that you can bring your symptoms to when you need to report something. It’s this person who you answer your questions when you’ve been hearing about the latest medical trends.

 

In turn, a good relationship with a primary care physician means you’ll build up a level of trust and comfort over time. This not only makes you more likely to seek the care you need, but will help you make more informed decisions about your care when working with an expert you can trust. From there, you’ll have more confidence in the way you approach your health—and in the way you seek out the right health care workers to help.

 

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The entire staff was very warm and friendly. I really liked the doctor. I will definitely be returning.
Kaye R.
Kaye R.
23:35 13 Jun 24
Elena Tsyba is a great specialist! All personal was very nice!! Thank you.
Anastasiia N.
Anastasiia N.
17:02 13 Jun 24
Thank you,every thing was good the doctor was very friendly and helpful the staff was very polite and friendly .good experience
Ibtissem H B.
Ibtissem H B.
21:08 10 Jun 24
Excellent doctors and all their team.
Marlenny A.
Marlenny A.
15:12 07 Jun 24
Excellent service it’s a lot better than what it used to be and I am grateful for that.. doctor is wonderful.. and the PCA’s that work there are the best all of the women are caring and patient.. they make you feel welcomed.. Dr Marly Granna is the best .. you don’t meet doctors like her anymore these days 🙇‍♂️🙏
Thomas R.
Thomas R.
17:35 04 Jun 24
This place is amazing because of the ladies and doctors that work there. They are an amazing group of people! They are professional, friendly and courteous! I reccomend this clinic to everyone, great place and convenient.To all the staff; thank you for all the hard work that you do!
Elizabeth H.
Elizabeth H.
16:36 17 May 24
I was seen by Dr Marley Grana gentle, attentive listener and warm. Coupled with her knowledge and ability to explain in simple language so that you understand. I would recommend her to anyone.
Carol D.
Carol D.
16:27 17 May 24
Excellent condition and service the nurses and the staff are very friendly and helpful and the doctor are great
Pauline H.
Pauline H.
19:07 08 May 24
Cerca a casa y el personal fantástico muy amable
Olga lucía Bastidas H.
Olga lucía Bastidas H.
18:51 07 May 24
Very efficient…smooth and timely service.The staff was very Professional. I would Recommend this place for GC Medical over another in New York
Von D.
Von D.
21:27 06 May 24
I have been through a lot and not been able to care for myself for a while. Today I saw my doctor and was able to get the care started that I need. The staff made me feel human and even moved my appointment up to see me sooner. Great City Medical thank you and God bless you all.
Chele From The Block (.
Chele From The Block (.
18:03 01 May 24
Exelente como siempre
Vicky I.
Vicky I.
16:49 01 May 24
I love my GYN and her staff
Elsy C.
Elsy C.
16:13 23 Apr 24
Great City Medical you are the bestest best.. Your staff is excellent …Thank you each & everyone for your kind patience ✨️ 💛 mucho ❤️…
Tyra S.
Tyra S.
20:26 17 Apr 24
The stuff was extremely friendly and polite. One of the nicest experiences I had in a medical office.
Anna P.
Anna P.
19:50 17 Apr 24
Great Service
Claudia T.
Claudia T.
20:37 16 Apr 24
My experience has been getting better over the years I’ve been coming to this location!!
Shan S.
Shan S.
18:36 11 Apr 24
Muy buen servicio
Charley B.
Charley B.
17:49 09 Apr 24
Today was my first visit ever .. Everything was so professional from check in to the last .. I will be going here and making this my gyn office 🩷Professionalism is 10/10
Desiree C
Desiree C
18:11 08 Apr 24
DR TYSBA IS THE BEST GYN IN THE WORLD. I HAVE BEEN TO A LOT WITHIN MY 50 YEARS AND SHES TOP SHELF!
Shay H.
Shay H.
15:36 08 Apr 24
Their professionalism makes for a pleasant, medical experience.Grateful to have Dr. Grana, as my primary care physician.
rockerto video R.
rockerto video R.
12:58 04 Apr 24
Clean 🧽 and fresh clinicPoliteness of each employee toward each other and respectability for patientsShort and brief application for new patient
Maria M.
Maria M.
22:57 27 Mar 24
Always a good service and kind people over there. I have been going to there for over 5 years and I had good service with good doctors. Thank you for all the staff.
Yaneth P.
Yaneth P.
18:52 27 Mar 24
My first time at this location, availability is always open. Staff and doctor were very pleasant and attentive. Sign- in was quick and easy! If your looking for a gynecologist this is your place.
Jennifer P.
Jennifer P.
15:45 27 Mar 24
A very friendly and attentive staff. Everything was practical and quick. Affordable prices. I’ll definitely be back for more procedures!
Marina P.
Marina P.
15:41 27 Mar 24
Fue un excelente servicio ☺️
Carolina M.
Carolina M.
13:27 26 Mar 24
The staff,Nursees and Doctor is of utmost professional quality and care
Charles J J.
Charles J J.
20:33 25 Mar 24
Today was my first visit to the office. All staff were very pleasant and thoughtful. The level of professionalism is top tier. I feel welcomed and secured in the knowledge given by the physicians. Looking forward to making this my forever gyn office. Definitely different from the rest!
JamilaMoneka
JamilaMoneka
20:09 25 Mar 24
DR.GRANA IS THE BEST
A Luis S.
A Luis S.
18:32 25 Mar 24
The Whole staff were friendly and very helpful, I didn’t have an appointment but they saw me the same day! From the Receptionist, nurses and Doctor… Great Job TEAM!
Raul V.
Raul V.
18:12 25 Mar 24
Muy buenos servicios, tanto en el front desk como en el personal médico . Excelente servicio, mucha amabilidad. 😍🥰
Martha F.
Martha F.
22:18 20 Mar 24
Le doy la Gracias a Dios por a verlo encontrado es la mejor Ginecologa que conozco estoy feliz con ella mi doctora favorita Gracias 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Allalive C.
Allalive C.
17:53 14 Mar 24
Great visit with a great Doctor!She makes time to listen to my concerns and goes even further to answer all of my questions.Overall experience was 10 out of 10!!!
latia H.
latia H.
18:32 13 Mar 24
Everything was great, excellent service
Jose Luis Guerrero G.
Jose Luis Guerrero G.
19:46 06 Mar 24
Great place Dr is very informative and the service is superb they don’t have you waiting for hour’s
Beth H.
Beth H.
23:55 04 Mar 24
Great Doctor and staff
Diana G.
Diana G.
23:15 04 Mar 24
U the best
Tukoy G.
Tukoy G.
17:55 28 Feb 24
Pricing reasonable & appointments quick.
Yolande M.
Yolande M.
22:15 26 Feb 24
It’s good all over and everyone is helpful
Ranjana T.
Ranjana T.
20:01 22 Feb 24
Me encantó la amabilidad d todos muy atentos muchas gracias x todo
Francis F.
Francis F.
20:33 21 Feb 24
Excelente
Dennys O.
Dennys O.
22:25 19 Feb 24
Staffs are awesome, friendly, and calm. Thank you so much!!
Ana B.
Ana B.
15:36 19 Feb 24
Excellent service from the beginning to understand all the process, solve questions and doubts. The CRM is excellent, and the medical exams are really efficient. The doctors and their staff are so kind and professional. I had my first visit on Monday, and on Friday, I got all the results. Excellent service, highly recommended.
Juliana R.
Juliana R.
16:22 16 Feb 24
At first it was hard getting through to Great City by phone. I soon discovered the chat. I was verily informed about everything from the costs right down to the procedure, that being examination for immigration purposes. I was kept up to date by Antony all the way up until it was time to pick up my form. The staff were very friendly as well. I should also mention too that the cost was the most inexpensive out of all the places I checked.
Mitsy D.
Mitsy D.
18:30 15 Feb 24
Escelente
Gilberto P.
Gilberto P.
13:34 15 Feb 24
Amazing!!
Taqazua P.
Taqazua P.
00:08 13 Feb 24
Me gustó muy atentos
Irairis M.
Irairis M.
20:29 07 Feb 24
Excellent service and nice personal🤗
Elizabeth B.
Elizabeth B.
16:03 07 Feb 24
Very safe space , quick and give you all the answer’s you need
Diamond F.
Diamond F.
16:28 01 Feb 24
Great place, nice people. Good attitude Very helpful
Elvin A
Elvin A
20:36 31 Jan 24
I like this little clinic a lot! Very friendly stuff, Dr. Grana seems to be a very professional. Been going there for almost a year now. Highly recommend!
Yulya Y.
Yulya Y.
19:35 31 Jan 24
Staff was professional, courteous and informed me of anything along the way. I would definitely go back. I also waited 5 min before being seen on a Monday morning.
Sabrosa V.
Sabrosa V.
22:22 29 Jan 24
Great experience each time I go . Professional clean and very respectful office. Staff always pleasant. Doctors very caring.
Juanita R.
Juanita R.
19:30 24 Jan 24
I am so appreciate Dr. Tsyba and the whole team. You are the best 👌
Alla M.
Alla M.
23:05 22 Jan 24
Las atenciones excelentes, desde informacion y registro, tanto como el personal medico, solo deben mejorar el tiempo de espera para ls citas.
Wanda R.
Wanda R.
00:10 17 Jan 24
Excellent Service
Sathyanarayana Rao Mallur Venkata R.
Sathyanarayana Rao Mallur Venkata R.
01:04 11 Jan 24
From the front desk to the medical assistant, to the lab, and down to the doctor and whoever you passed by, it was excellent customer service. It was topnotch. I think the entire staff took extra customer service classes.
ibro D.
ibro D.
12:52 05 Jan 24
Super mega maravilloso las atenciones
Mildred Yajaira E.
Mildred Yajaira E.
17:22 27 Dec 23
Todos muy amable y comprometido por la salud del paciente .ame este grupo
Veronica R.
Veronica R.
17:56 26 Dec 23
They are very nice and friendly. The appointment didn’t take too long. The only thing I didn’t like is that I’m a transgender woman and all the time they used masculine pronouns which makes me feel uncomfortable. They could just try to be neutral or call me by my name instead.
jose
jose
15:53 22 Dec 23
El trato de todo el personal es excelente
Miosotis M.
Miosotis M.
19:53 20 Dec 23
Great service. The intake with the nurse was pleasant and fun. The time with the doctor was very comfortable, she listened very attentivet all my concerns, she was very gentle and professional.They have late afternoon appointments wich is a plus.The final step was the scheduling of the next appointment wich was fast!My mom was right to recommend her and I recommend them as well.
Juana G.
Juana G.
22:31 19 Dec 23
No long wait times staff is professional and pleasant Doctors are amazing and very knowledgeable
Denise C.
Denise C.
14:43 19 Dec 23
Excelente las atenciones y un personal medico de primera
Carlos F.
Carlos F.
18:11 15 Dec 23
Stagg was friendly doctor listen and communicated clearly….overall good experience
Ayasia K.
Ayasia K.
12:56 12 Dec 23
Everyone was very positive and reassuringly guided us through a rather complicated process. A great shoutout to Patricia for going above and beyond to make everything less stressful for us.
Ntani G.
Ntani G.
12:10 12 Dec 23
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