RAPID CITY S.D. – Seeing a primary health care physician is essential in maintaining good health. According to Megan Collier, CN-P, who specializes in Family Medicine at Rapid City Medical Center, “when people seek to have a primary care provider, it is somebody to oversee their general health. It is someone to catch those chronic diseases in their earliest phases so they can be treated and avoid any further complications that may arise from those conditions.” A big part of primary care is prevention, “such as having your preventative screenings and your immunizations at the appropriate ages, all to keep you in good health,” says Collier.
According to Collier you should go into your primary care doctor for a yearly checkup, “some chronic conditions require that you see your primary care provider more frequently just to keep them under control, but the basic healthy person should go in on a yearly basis,” says Collier
When searching for a good primary health doctor, “make sure your primary care is very thorough, asking about your family history, your own medical history, and looking at appropriate screening and preventative care,” suggests Collier.
In this time of uncertainty with the COVID-19 outbreak, many do not want to go into their regularly scheduled general health appointments out of fear of contracting the illness. However, the virus has made it more important than ever to regularly see your primary care physician. According to a study done by The American College of Emergency Physicians, four out of five adults report that they are concerned about contracting COVID-19 from another patient or visitor if they go to receive care. However, a better understanding of how the medical system works can help to relieve those fears. According to Collier, “now is not the time to let your preventative care go. You want your primary care provider to still be managing your health from a chronic disease and preventative standpoint to keep your chronic conditions from becoming uncontrolled or having to present to the emergency room. If we can manage it outpatient, that is the best for everyone.”
Rapid City Medical Center has made a few changes to ensure that patients are distanced from each other. “Patients are asked to wait in their cars, check-in via phone, and then are brought in when the exam room is ready for them,” says Collier. All this is to prevent patients from having extended times together in the waiting room. Also, the medical center is doing extra cleaning and asking that everyone, staff, and patients alike, wear a mask. “We’ve also incorporated telehealth visits, which have received a good response from patients. They’re very convenient and efficient,” says Collier. Telehealth visits allow for patients to meet with their preferred physician without going to the clinic in person.