Making time to see your primary care doctor has long-term benefits. According to the Annals of Family Medicine, patients with a primary care doctor spend less time in the hospital and less money on medical costs, as well as experience better management of their chronic conditions. But how often should you see your primary care doctor to get these benefits? That is something only you and your doctor can determine.
That is one of the reasons why we created the Stay Well Care Plan. This plan allows you to talk with your doctor and develop an individualized care and wellness plan specific to you. A core aspect of the plan is regular wellness visits, with the frequency of visits determined by your health needs.
“The Stay Well Care Plan truly tailors your care based on your needs. You may be a healthy person that just needs an annual physical and preventive care or you may be someone who is chronically ill with many comorbidities, needing visits every three to four months to really optimize that care,” said Shabbir Hossain, MD, a primary care doctor in McKinney, Texas. “This plan will allow our patients to live their best lives by keeping them healthier long term while spending less time in emergency rooms and hospitals.”
Our research shows this to be true. Village Medical patients who are 65+ and at high risk who have 3 or more visits with their primary care doctor or advanced practice provider (APP)* have an 11% reduction in hospital admissions. This is in part because for patients with complex needs, a primary care doctor can help you to deal with a wide range of conditions and medical issues and connect you with specialists when you need them. They can also provide you with programming to help you reach your health care goals and work with you to address other issues that might be impacting your health, such as food insecurity, transportation needs, and medication costs.
For David Hatfield, DO, chief physician executive, the Stay Well Care Plan allows our doctors and APPs to build long term relationships with patients and work with them to manage their health and help them get to their well.
“You get to know your care team and they’ll know you – your health history, your goals, and your preferences,” he said. “In addition, you know that your care team is deeply invested in you and will be a strong advocate for helping you achieve what ‘well’ means for you.”
*An advanced practice provider is defined as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant.