Page Content Primary Care Physicians: The Backbone and Coordinator of Your Healthcare Team Published 1/22/2021 In football, it’s the role of the offensive coordinator to orchestrate the plays that will ultimately move the ball to the end zone. Without the offensive coordinator, the team would be left to play without direction – and likely without scoring a point. It’s easy to see how essential an offensive coordinator is to the success of a football team’s offense. But how essential is choosing a primary care physician (PCP) within the field of healthcare? While some may assume it’s perfectly fine to simply address healthcare problems as they arise, there are many reasons why choosing a PCP right from the start can help avoid high costs and maintain better health and productivity. Calling the playsThe PCP performs as the coordinator for the patient, charting out a ‘play’ for best outcomes. A PCP finds problems when they are small and more easily overcome, helps ensure specialists are a good fit for the patient when needed, that all medications work well together, and that diagnostics like labs and imaging aren’t needlessly duplicated. While specialists treat individual conditions, the PCP orchestrates prevention and acute care for the entire person, helping the patient maintain and improve health, and wellbeing. Especially in the setting of an accountable care organization like Kelsey-Seybold, the PCP also knows the team of specialists well and can coordinate care with the help of shared patient information in an electronic medical record. By sharing medical history information across specialties, the PCP is better able to communicate with other members of the team.Playing to winAn outstanding patient experience that delivers better value through evidence-based care is the result of coordinated care. Lack of coordination in medicine by a PCP may lead to duplicated services, increased costs, adverse medical interactions, and medical errors that otherwise could have been avoided.PCPs may also be able to help patients avoid unnecessary specialist visits and associated costs by treating issues at the primary care level. Even more significant, proactive efforts to prevent and manage illness can potentially reduce urgent care, emergency care, and hospitalizations – delivering a big cost savings to employers.Steps to victoryHaving an expert who can coordinate patient care through a sometimes-complex healthcare pathway is essential. Building a medical profile, setting a schedule for routine screening or medication refills, and facilitating access to care can make a huge difference in a patient’s health and productivity. Employers should encourage employees to select a PCP because it’s one of the best ways to lower costs and maintain a healthier workforce. Fortunately, at Kelsey-Seybold, it’s easy and transparent. Patients can conveniently view online physician biographies, interviews, and philosophies of care to find a perfect fit before starting a PCP relationship.PCPs understand that better patient outcomes are achieved through skilled coordination. As an offensive coordinator works to orchestrate plays that offer the best chance of victory, so, too, does a PCP work to coordinate a win-win situation for employer and patient. Author Donald Aga, MD,Medical Director for Healthcare Innovation at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.