A primary care provider (PCP) is a health care practitioner who sees people that have common medical problems. This person is usually a doctor, but may be a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner. Your PCP is often involved in your care for a long time, so it is important to select someone with whom you will work well. Primary Care includes the subcategory terms:
- Family Care - specializes in providing care to all age groups.
- Internal Medicine - specializes in providing care to adults (age 18 and over).
- Pediatrics - specializes in providing care to children (up until age 18).
- Geriatrics - specializes in providing care to adults age 60 and older.
A PCP is your main health care provider in non-emergency situations.
Your PCP's role is to:
- Provide preventive care and teach healthy lifestyle choices
- Identify and treat common medical conditions
- Assess the urgency of your medical problems and direct you to the best place for that care
- Make referrals to medical specialists when necessary
Primary care is usually provided in an outpatient setting. However, if you are admitted to the hospital, your PCP may assist in or direct your care, depending on the circumstances.