I find myself thinking about the changing role of the primary care provider (PCP). What will the role be as the healthcare landscape changes? Do you PCPs feel their roles are changing? Does the role need revamping?
As a nurse practitioner, I have always had the highest regard for the PCP role. Most of my career was in HIV/Medicine and in the early days, my role was often a PCP because HIV medicine was so complicated. I switched to family medicine several years before I decided to be an advocate full time. There was a time when the PCP was the patient advocate.
As Accountable Care Organizations and other like medical partnerships evolve, will the PCP be someone who is thinking of my well being or the organization’s sustainability? Will my PCP be the Organization’s team and not an individual?
I have been thinking whether it is important to me to have one person who knows and understands my health issues. My PCP, like most of medicine, is evidence based and therefore prescribes and thinks as per those standards. Yes, I like her and we are chatty when I see her. However, since, the healthcare law changed in Massachusetts, she has less time and runs late. Do I need a personal relationship?
The electronic record allows me to see any of her partners. Does it make any difference to me when I am sick who I see? Actually, no, because I just want medication or a referral. So why not have the whole group as my PCP? It might give me more flexibility and take the pressure off individual PCPs to be so responsible and rated by the insurance companies.
If I want specialized treatment and someone at my beck and call, then I need to pay more and get a concierge doctor. I think if I had a chronic illness, wanted someone more available and had the money, I would get myself a concierge doctor. I don’t need that right now.
My question: What is the future of primary care providers?