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A Primary Care Physician (PCP) provides the initial and ongoing comprehensive care of a patient’s health and wellness including diagnosis and management, acute and chronic illness, health promotion and maintenance, disease prevention, and patient education.
A PCP works in partnership with medical, surgical, and other medical specialists to diagnose, treat, and manage patient health. PCPs work either as part of a medical group or in an independent private practice and frequently have regular, long-term patients they see over the course of many years. They treat generally healthy patients for the management of illnesses, injuries, or long-term non-severe conditions. They are the initial contact for many patients and need to be able to care for a wide range of illnesses and injuries as well as preventative care with referrals to specialists as needed.
PCPs primarily work in outpatient office settings but may also go to hospitals and nursing facilities.
After graduation from medical school, a PCP completes a postgraduate residency program in either family medicine (practice), internal medicine, pediatrics, or gynecology. The postgraduate program can take at least three years or more if the PCP receives additional training.
This information is provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnoses and treatment of a medical or health condition.