What is a Primary Care Provider (PCP)?

  • Category: Blog
  • Posted On:
What is a Primary Care Provider (PCP)?

A primary care provider is an important part of maintaining good health. Primary care providers are often called PCPs for short, and their job is to keep you well. Research shows that people who have a primary care provider have overall better health and lower healthcare costs. You should see your primary care provider at least once per year, and they will serve as your healthcare “quarterback.”

Some health insurance plans require you to choose one primary care provider. Choosing the right PCP is important, to ensure you get the personal care that you and your family deserve. By seeing a PCP regularly, they will get to know you, your health history and what is important to you. Your PCP will be your first point of contact for all your healthcare needs and refer you to specialists if you ever need additional care.

A primary care provider is a physician who is specialized in:

  • Family Medicine — People of all ages, including pregnant women and children
  • Pediatricians — Newborns to 18
  • Internal Medicine — Adults of any age
  • Geriatricians — Older adults

A nurse practitioner (N.P.) or a physician assistant (P.A.) can also be your PCP if they work in a primary care field.

Why should I see a primary care doctor?

  • People who have a PCP have fewer hospitalizations and better overall health
  • Primary care doctors can catch health problems early – and sometimes even prevent them
  • Primary care doctors can manage most of your healthcare needs at a lower cost
  • If you have a serious health issue, your PCP can guide you to the right care

What should I see my primary care doctor for?

  • Preventive care, including vaccines and cancer screenings
  • Advice on staying healthy
  • Sick visits
  • Management of chronic health conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, or asthma)
  • Discussions about mental health or substance use problems

Choose an OU Health primary care provider and benefit from access to many programs that are tailored to your specific health needs. OU Health is the largest physician practice in the state with more specialists than anywhere else. This means your OU Health primary care provider can easily work with their colleagues when additional specialist help is needed. Learn about OU Health Primary Care for adults and children.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Primary Care Doctor

Is the primary care provider in your new insurance network?
It’s always important to make sure your PCP is covered by your health plan. OU Health accepts most health plans, including all three SoonerSelect health plans — Oklahoma Complete Health, Humana Healthy Horizons of Oklahoma, and Aetna Better Health of Oklahoma.

Are they part of a network of specialists?
Having a primary care provider who is part of a larger system is important when you need extra care. These physicians can make referrals within the system and coordinate your care more easily. OU Health is the largest physician practice in the state with more specialists than anywhere else. You can stay with OU Health for all of your care needs, knowing that we all work together to provide you with the service you need.

How can I talk to my primary care provider?
Being able to ask your PCP questions is important to your ongoing health. OU Health recently launched a new patient portal called OU Health MyChart. You can access the portal from your smartphone and easily message your doctor questions. This means that you are in control of your health.

What other services are offered with my primary care?
The best healthcare is delivered by a team, and OU Health has built teams of experts to help you live your best life. With our primary care services, you will have access to in-office counselors to help with mental health concerns. You will be able to speak to pharmacists who can advise on your medications and help you get your medications covered. You will also be able to visit with one of your PCP’s partners if you’re sick, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, your OU Health PCP is part of a network that includes OU Health emergency and urgent care centers where the team has your medical record, can provide you care and communicate with your PCP for follow up. With OU Health, you will be part of a team that cares about helping you through all stages of life.