Our primary concern is your health.
MedStar Harbor Hospital’s primary care experts are dedicated to helping you make the most of your health. Maintaining a long-term relationship with a primary care partner plays an essential role in your well-being. The best diagnostic test available is the test of time. Your primary care provider gains valuable information from tracking a health concern over time and can make treatment decisions accordingly. So it’s important to find a provider you trust —who can guide you throughout your life. Over the long term, a provider who knows your health history, your habits and your personality can more easily recognize signs that indicate a potential change in your health.
Your primary care provider will be your point person.
If you need to see a specialist, one of our primary care providers will refer you to an expert they know and with whom they collaborate. If you have concerns about different suggestions from different specialists, your primary care provider can help you sort through and prioritize which suggestions to act on first. Our primary care providers have working relationships with our specialists and can help you keep track of your care.
Developing a relationship with your primary care provider can help you get care faster — whether you have a sinus infection or something more serious. When you’ve established that relationship, it’s much easier to get the care you need.
Primary care can help prevent future health issues.
When you visit your primary care expert regularly, instead of just when you are sick, he or she can help educate you about your health and suggest screenings to prevent chronic illnesses later in life. Being consistent with your primary care provider can be very valuable to your long-term health because your provider can develop information tailored to your unique needs and goals.
What kind of primary care provider is right for you?
It’s important to consider age, gender and location. You want a provider who will be with you throughout your lifetime — one you can access conveniently and one with whom you feel comfortable, even when disclosing personal information. You want a provider you can trust, one with whom you feel safe, and one with the depth of knowledge to offer thorough care. MedStar Harbor Hospital’s primary care experts make sure you feel comfortable voicing your concerns — and we really listen.
Internist or family care provider?
Internists are doctors who have completed a residency in internal medicine and are board-certified in this specialty. All of the primary care doctors at MedStar Harbor Hospital are board-certified in internal medicine. Internal medicine deals with the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of diseases of the internal organs. The scope of practice includes the care of adults of all ages for many different medical problems.
It’s important to know the difference between the two practices. While there is a crossover in the fields, they are different. Family practitioners are doctors who have completed a family practice residency and are board-certified for this specialty. Their scope of practice includes children and adults of all ages and may include obstetrics and minor surgery.
What can a nurse practitioner do for me?
Nurse practitioners are advanced-practice registered nurses with a postgraduate nursing degree. A nurse practitioner can serve as a patient’s primary care provider. He or she can offer individualized care and diagnose and recommend treatment for a wide range of health issues, including the initial evaluation of new symptoms, ongoing care for chronic diseases, and preventive services such as immunizations or screenings. The nurse practitioners in the primary care sites at MedStar Harbor Hospital are highly skilled, compassionate caregivers who are focused on your health needs.
What to bring to your first appointment.
- Completed patient forms, including the completed Medical Records Release form to maintain your continuity of care. You can download the forms online at MedStarHarbor.org/PrimaryCare.
- Current medications, in their bottles, for dosage and directions
- List of nutritional supplements or vitamins you are taking
- List of previous operations
- Personal history of health problems
- Family history of health problems
- Insurance card(s)
How to make the most of every visit.
- Take some time before your appointment to make a list of what’s been bothering you — including any symptoms — to discuss before your appointment.
- Don’t be afraid to ask what the symptoms you have may indicate. Do some research on your own to understand about your illness so you’re better prepared to understand what your provider tells you.
- If you are advised to get any tests, ask questions about them and make sure you know and understand any risks.
- If your provider recommends a treatment, it is okay to ask about it and inquire about alternative options.
- If you’re prescribed medication, ask about the risks and any reactions you could have.
- At the end of your visit, repeat what your provider tells you to make sure you understand his or her instructions.
- And above all, be honest. We’re here to help you.
For a physician referral, To be connected with one of our MedStar Harbor Primary Care locations, please call 855-546-0951.