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About Primary care doctors
What is primary care?
Primary care is the critical center of all health care. 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 with the training and experience to diagnose, treat, and prevent a wide array of medical conditions in patients, regardless of 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 various 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.
What does a primary care provider do?
As detailed above, primary care providers diagnose and treat hundreds of medical conditions, help patients prevent health complications, and offer advice to improve overall wellness.
Some conditions treated by primary care providers include:
- Acute illnesses (like the cold and flu)
- Infections (like a UTI or ear infection)
- Skin conditions (like skin rash or moles)
- Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- Blood pressure management
- High cholesterol
- Non-emergency injuries (like sprains)
- Developmental disorders (like cerebral palsy)
- Sexual dysfunction (like infertility or ED)
- Mental health conditions (like depression or anxiety)
Some procedures performed by primary care providers include:
- Routine check-ups
- Lab testing (blood and urinalysis)
- Injury treatment (applying splints, casts, slings, etc…)
- Medication prescription
- Medical advice for general wellness
- Preventative care strategies (like dietary adjustments and lifestyle changes)
- Cancer screening
If you are experiencing an illness or injury that requires attention but does not constitute an emergency, you should go to an urgent care clinic. Urgent care is the middle ground between primary care and an emergency room.
Go to an urgent care clinic if you are experiencing any of the following conditions:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Sprains and fractures
- Minor burns
- Sore throats, colds, flu, fever, or ear infections
- Animal bites or stings
- Insect bites or stings
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Asthma attacks
- Allergic reactions
Do I really need an annual check-up?
Only 1 in 5 Americans get an annual check-up, also known as a “full physical” or “annual physical exam”. A 2012 study found that annual physical exams do not dramatically reduce the risk of disease or death from disease. This has led to many medical associations advising that annual physical exams are unnecessary. Patients can, instead, go to their primary care provider for a wellness check. This is a simpler, quicker check-in with your primary care provider to screen for any health problems. These visits are quick and do not require the wide range of tests usually performed during an annual physical exam.
While many people do not require a full physical exam every year, it is still important to check in with a primary care provider every year to ensure you are not dealing with an underlying condition you may not have noticed. High blood pressure, for instance, rarely causes concerning symptoms. A yearly check-in will help you and your provider monitor vital components of your overall health while maintaining an open dialogue about any concerns or questions you have.
How do I book a primary care visit in Manhattan?
Sesame offers convenient and affordable in-person and video primary care appointments in Manhattan and across New York City.
Here’s how you 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!
Book a primary care visit with the best doctors in your area and save up to 60% on your appointment.