Forming and maintaining a relationship with a primary care provider (PCP) can be one of the most important aspects of managing your health. Research indicates that patients with access to a regular PCP have lower overall health care costs and better outcomes.
As vital as this relationship is, it may only scratch the surface of your health care needs, particularly in cases of a major incident or chronic conditions. There are specialists, pharmacies and medications, testing, procedures, appointments, hospitals and discharge instructions, equipment, and so on. Did I mention that mammogram that you forgot to schedule? Who helps you coordinate all of this? How do you know where and when to go or what to do? It can be overwhelming, to say the least.
In an ever-changing and increasingly complex system, many PCP’s have shifted toward a pit crew mindset, which we like to call a “care team.”
Care teams are like pit crews for your health care. They involve numerous medical professionals, approaching your care with you, the patient, at the center of it. Like a pit crew, each care team member has a role, understands their role, and supports each other closely to meet the shared goal, despite many moving parts. Whether that goal involves visiting multiple specialists and handling a long list of medications, keeping your diabetes in check, or scheduling that mammogram, care teams work to coordinate those moving parts.
The good news is, if you’re reading this, you may have already established your very important primary care relationship. The even better news is the providers at Village Health Partners have these added resources. Not only does your PCP have the extensive support of their in-office staff, they also have an extended care team of Pharmacists, Care Coordinators, Care Managers (RN), and Referral Coordinators working directly with you both to help you carry out the plan and goals you’ve set together.
When you’re facing challenging circumstances with your health, your provider may refer you to their care team for specific services because he or she believes you could benefit from the support and resources between your appointments with them. Since your PCP relies on their care team to help coordinate your care, it’s important to build a partnership with those care team members, just like you have with your PCP.
Although you might think if you are generally healthy and only visit annually for a physical you won’t benefit from a care team, prevention plays an essential role in staying healthy and care teams also focus on ensuring you’ve had the preventive screenings you need. Remember that mammogram you forgot to schedule?
In short, fostering a relationship with your Village Health Partners PCP sets the stage for a whole team ready to help you navigate a complex health care system and get the right care when you need it.
-Katt Anderson, Catalyst Health Network
To learn more about our Care Team, click here.