Angie's List members choose primary care

Angie's List members choose primary care

Marcia Gomez, like more than nine out of 10 Angie's List members polled online, has a primary care provider. And she can't imagine it any other way.

Having someone coordinate care when medical issues arise makes the whole process smoother, says Gomez of Dallas.

Doctors are still consumers' first choice when selecting a primary care provider. Nearly 80 percent of Angie's List members say they visit a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy most often.

Gomez praises her doctor, Denise Weber of MedProvider, as being a good listener and a thorough clinician, and says Weber helps her control her blood pressure. It's just what she and others have come to expect from their primary care provider.

"They kind of act as an organizer for your medical life, keeping you on track for what you need to do and when," Gomez says.

Clinicians say primary care providers play a vital role in keeping people out of the ER, offer counsel on making healthy life choices, keep medications straight, cut down on duplicated tests and refer patients to specialists when needed — all with or without an M.D. or D.O. behind their name.

Increasingly, patients are turning to other types of primary care providers as well. About 8 percent of Angie's List members see a nurse practitioner most often, compared with 3 percent who see a physician assistant.

"One of the problems is that we have so much fragmentation," says Dee Swanson, a veteran nurse practitioner in Bloomington, Ind., and president of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. "People think they need a specialist for every body system, but we're not just a collection of body systems."

Swanson and other primary care providers like Dr. William Brus of the highly rated Eagle's View Family Medicine in Boise, Idaho, say their forte is stitching together the bigger picture of a patient's health, and their services are generally far cheaper than specialists.

"Primary care is focused on looking at the whole patient," Brus says.


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