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June 15, 2023

Which Doctors are Primary Care Doctors?

Navigating the world of doctor’s credentials can be rather confusing when you haven’t been a part of the medical field. Figuring out what all the letters mean at the end of doctors’ names can be like reading a foreign language! Medical providers can have all sorts of credentials, but you should look for a few specific ones when it comes to choosing a primary care provider.

Primary care physicians will be either an MD or DO. But, even with those credentials, there are different types of PCPs.

Family practice physicians treat patients of all ages, from infants to seniors. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, family practice physicians are qualified to treat most ailments and provide comprehensive healthcare. They seek to sustain “an enduring and trusting relationship” with their patients, consider the impact of health on a patients’ family, and help patients navigate the complexities of the healthcare system. Avance Care has a number of family physicians, making it possible for your whole family to receive primary care at the same doctor’s office!

Internal medicine physicians, also called internists, treat adults only. These doctors are experts in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. They offer care for a wide variety of health conditions and counsel their patients on managing diseases and their overall wellness.

Pediatricians have extra training in treating children from infants to adolescents. They have specialized knowledge on children’s growth and development and the physical, behavioral, and mental health of children and teens. Pediatricians provide preventive care and diagnose and treat acute and chronic diseases.

Gynecologists focus on women’s health issues, including sexual health, reproductive health, cervical and breast cancer screenings, and urinary tract problems. Many gynecologists also have certifications in obstetrics, which focuses on pregnancy and childbirth. These experts are commonly referred to as OB-GYNs.

Geriatricians have additional training in caring for older adults ages 65 and up. These physicians are specialists in aging-related issues. They have expertise in treating seniors who may have multiple conditions, are taking multiple medications, or have diseases associated with aging, such as cognitive decline or dementia, incontinence, or osteoporosis.

Additional providers

Primary care teams also include Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. Both are highly trained and often board-certified medical professionals. These providers can diagnose and treat patients with a wide range of conditions, develop treatment plans, and prescribe medications.

What’s the difference between primary care and specialty care?

Primary care

Primary care is your first point of contact with the healthcare system – your “home base.” PCPs aren’t limited to a specific organ or system. Rather, primary care doctors look at all aspects of your overall health.

Specialty care

Specialty care focuses on a particular area of medicine. Specialists are doctors with additional education and training in a specific organ or system, such as neurologists, cardiologists, or gastroenterologists.

If you’re looking for a new primary care provider, have never had one, or recently moved to North Carolina, browse Avance Care’s list of PCPs by visiting here. Every provider has a bio where you can learn more about their education and specialties, so you can find the right primary care provider for you.

To learn more about how to choose the right primary care provider for you, visit our Guide to Choosing a Primary Care Provider here.

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