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Primary Care in Fort Worth


The Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan area is home to the largest community-oriented primary care models in the country. Community-oriented primary care (COPC) is the unification of individualized primary care for resident patients and broader community medicine. The Parkland Health and Hospital System (the system that services Dallas County) has expanded access to reach more than 350,000 residents in the area.

Even with this nationally-recognized access to health care, it can still be difficult for many residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to get the care they need. In the last decade, Texas has had the largest number of uninsured residents of any state in the US. While these rates have improved with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, there are still a large number of adults and children without healthcare coverage in Texas. Some estimates show that nearly 20% of the population is without coverage. Many people forego health care when they are uninsured, as they worry that they don’t have the money to pay for medical services.

We’ve already explored the problems around America’s healthcare system and the dangers of skipping medical care. Primary care plays a key role in helping Americans manage, treat, and prevent serious medical issues like cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Skipping primary care, in particular, can have lasting consequences on your overall health and well-being.

The Basics of Primary Care


Primary care is at the center of the entire healthcare system. Primary care offers comprehensive diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative, and preventative care for patients of all ages, genders, and racial backgrounds. To do this, a primary care provider (or PCP) will individualize a patient’s care based on their personal medical history and risk factors.

Primary care providers are sometimes known as family doctors or internists. A family doctor is a primary care provider who has the training and experience to diagnose, treat, and prevent a wide array of medical conditions in patients regardless of their age or gender. An internist–or internal medicine physician–generally focuses on conditions related to the inside of the body, like high blood pressure or diabetes. An internist will primarily work with adult patients.

While family medicine doctors can treat patients of any age, some parents feel more comfortable relying on a pediatrician to provide health care for their young children. Pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. They provide preventive health services such as immunizations and physical exams, diagnose illnesses, manage chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes, treat injuries and infections, and offer advice on nutrition and exercise. Pediatricians also monitor their patient's growth and development throughout childhood to ensure they stay healthy into adulthood.

A primary care provider is more than just a doctor who performs your annual physical. Primary care providers perform a wide range of medical services to diagnose and treat patients. They will also act as the primary point of contact for a health care team if you are also receiving specialized treatment, working with the specialists, and often relaying information to the patient.

Primary Care Services


As suggested above, primary care providers perform diverse procedures and treatment strategies to help improve a patient’s overall health.

They help diagnose and treat various injuries, illnesses, and other health conditions. Services provided by a PCP include:

Check-ups & Screenings

PCPs can provide the following routine check-up and diagnostic services:

  • Blood pressure screening
  • Heartbeat monitoring (EKGs)
  • Lung tests (spirometry)
  • Cancer screenings (such as for breast cancer, testicular cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer)
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Development disorder testing

Illness and injury care

Primary care physicians can help treat minor injuries and common illnesses, including:

  • Common cold
  • Flu
  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Yeast infections
  • Rashes
  • Broken bone treatment (casting, splints, braces)

Preventative care and general wellness

Primary care physicians can play a key role in preventative care, general wellness, and disease prevention for a range of acute and chronic conditions. A primary care physician can offer medical advice, treat chronic conditions and injuries, and offer dietary/ lifestyle adjustments to prevent medical problems and improve your overall health.

Primary care is a relationship between you and your doctor. Many patients choose to see the same primary care provider for several years, because of the shared knowledge of the patient’s health and family history. You can improve the communication between your PCP and yourself by asking questions. This simple step helps you get more out of your care while building a level of collaboration between you and your doctor.

In addition to asking questions about your care, it is important that you are honest with your primary care provider regarding your lifestyle habits. A recent study found that 47% of adults lie to their doctor. While we may be embarrassed of our habits, or don’t want to be “judged” by our doctor, lying can keep your doctor from offering you the specific treatment you need. Honesty will help your doctor give you the most comprehensive care possible.

Education and Training


A primary care provider has to undergo extensive education and training before they can provide medical services. In total, a primary care provider has 11 years of schooling. This includes completing a four-year undergraduate degree, followed by a three or four-year residency in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or obstetrics/gynecology. After the residency period is completed, most providers choose to pursue board certification in their specialty area of practice. Certification requires successful completion of an exam as well as continuing medical education (CME) credits on an ongoing basis throughout their careers. In addition to formal education and training, primary care providers must also have excellent communication skills and empathy for patients which can be developed through clinical rotations during their studies.

Types of Primary Care Providers


Primary care physicians can specialize in different medical fields. While most primary care physicians can treat a wide range of conditions, injuries, and illnesses, you may want to receive a specific type of care based on your need, including:

Family medicine doctor: Family medicine doctors can treat several conditions, illnesses, and injuries in patients ranging from children to geriatric patients. Family medicine doctors may receive continued training in pediatrics and obstetrics to be able to treat children's and women’s health conditions.

Internists: Internists specialize in internal medicine for adults. Internists specialize in treating conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and hypertension.

Pediatricians: Pediatricians are doctors who specialize in pediatric medicine, or the care of infants and children. Pediatricians can do check-ups for children, provide immunizations, diagnose conditions and illnesses, and prescribe medication.

Physician assistants: Physician assistants are highly trained health care professionals that have received a Master’s degree and intensive training to be able to work alongside the primary care physician to diagnose, treat, and test for several conditions and diseases.

Obstetrician/ gynecologist: Obstetrician/ gynecologists (OB-GYNs) are specially trained to treat and care for conditions related to women’s health. OB-GYNs help with fertility, childbirth, and issues specifically relating to the health of female reproductive organs.

Primary Care vs. Specialists


A primary care provider has extensive training and clinical experience to diagnose and treat a wide range of medical conditions. This includes but is not limited to, acute illnesses, injuries, mental health concerns, and sexual dysfunction. That being said, some conditions require specific treatment from a clinician with advanced training in a certain area. These clinicians are known as specialists.

Some examples of specialists include:

  • ENTs (Ear, Nose & Throat doctors)
  • Endocrinologists (doctors who specialize in conditions related to glands and the hormones they produce)
  • Oncologists (doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers)
  • Orthopedics (doctors who treat issues related to the muscles and skeleton)
  • Dermatologists (doctors who treat issues related to skin, hair, and nails)
  • Podiatrists (doctors who treat issues related to the foot, ankle, and lower leg)
  • Neurologists (doctors who treat issues related to the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and more)
  • Mental health care providers (such as therapists, psychiatrists, and counselors)

In many cases, you can’t even see a specialist without a referral from a primary care provider. This is what is meant by PCPs being a “first point of contact.” You will generally go see a PCP first before they refer you to a specialist if needed.

If you need to see a specialist or receive specialized care, your primary care provider will likely act as your main contact for your healthcare team. Certain prescriptions or recommendations may be given through your PCP or you might receive lab test results through them.

Booking Primary Care in Fort Worth


If you’re looking for a routine check-up or are experiencing symptoms related to a non-urgent medical condition in Fort Worth, Sesame has you covered. You can find convenient and affordable in-person and telehealth (video) primary care services on Sesame with licensed health care providers in your area.

To book a visit:

  • Search “Primary Care” in Sesame’s search bar
  • Browse the list of available providers near you
  • Choose between video and in-person services
  • Pick a time that works best for your schedule
  • Book your visit!

Yep, it’s that easy. Not sure if you need to see a doctor in-person or not? We recommend in-person visits for routine check-ups, chronic condition consultations, and lab testing. There are just some things that can’t be done over video. Video visits are used to address symptoms, discuss prescriptions, and screen for certain medical conditions.

Primary care is the cornerstone of health care. Establishing a relationship with a provider you trust can help you get individualized care tailored to your medical needs and personal history. Don’t wait to get the personal care you need. Book a primary care visit with the best doctors in your area and save up to 60% on your appointment.

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