For The Leader
If you think it’s old-fashioned to have a family medicine doctor, think again.
Today’s primary care physicians (PCPs) – specialists in family medicine – do much more than treat sniffles, sprains and sinus infections. They are also preventive medicine specialists, health coaches and care coordinators for their patients.
Heather Hamilton, MD, and Kesha Zaveri, DO, PCPs affiliated with Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital, are about as far as possible from “grandfatherly,” but they share the same old-fashioned concern for creating long-term relationships that ensure good health for their patients.
Dr. Zaveri describes PCPs as “the first line of defense for you and your health. Our goal is to keep you healthy, starting with preventive care from a young age.”
Dr. Hamilton agrees. “Your PCP will provide continuity to help keep you healthy, while making health fit into your lifestyle.”
PCPs, according to Dr. Hamilton, “are passionate about preventive care,” including annual physicals and well-woman exams, but they treat a variety of health conditions.
PCPs manage chronic conditions like high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes and thyroid disease, and treat acute illnesses — including colds, flu, sinus infections — and injuries such as sprains. They also provide employment, school and athletic physicals.
In an age of specialty medicine, why is a PCP important?
Even when a patient has one or more specialists, Dr. Hamilton notes, the PCP is part of the team when specialists diagnose, monitor and treat specific conditions. Because the PCP sees a patient’s “big picture,” he or she is a valuable resource who helps coordinate recommendations and medications from various specialists.
In addition, while specialists treat specific conditions, Dr. Zaveri points out, PCPs treat the whole body and focus on preventive care. For example, a dermatologist who treats a skin condition, might not check lab work for high cholesterol or diabetes — a routine part of an annual wellness visit to a PCP.
What’s more, PCPs treat a wide variety of conditions, potentially eliminating the need for a patient to see a specialist.
Why do healthy people need a PCP?
Some in the millennial generation, according to Dr. Zaveri, may think that because they are healthy, there is no need to visit the doctor, but that is not true. She encourages them to schedule at least one wellness visit annually, even if one is not required by an employer. For a generation that places a high level of importance on wellness and prevention, a relationship with a primary care provider can be a roadmap for a lifetime of good health.
A relationship with a PCP can also be an on-ramp to a network of physicians who can provide a continuum of quality, interconnected medical care that is located close to home. Memorial Hermann-affiliated PCPs can help coordinate care delivered by physicians at neighborhood Memorial Hermann Urgent Care locations in The Heights and other communities, as well as with Memorial Hermann hospitals across Greater Houston. All patient care summaries, diagnostic labs and imaging go into a single patient medical record for improved care coordination. It also allows physicians to help patients become informed participants in their own health and wellbeing.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hamilton or Dr. Zaveri, please call 713.242.2980 or visit mhmg.memorialhermann.org.