Family medicine physicians, also referred to as primary care doctors, diagnose and treat immediate illnesses, but also provide preventative care, manage chronic illnesses, handle mental health issues, and become the first point of contact and lifetime manager of your care. Often, it is because of the relationship with your family medicine physician that changes in your body that may require a specialist are noticed. They offer comprehensive care for all ages, from newborns to seniors.
“Family medicine is specialty of breadth and depth,” says Dr. Dominique Robinson Harris with Blount Memorial Physicians Group – Family and Internal Medicine. “I see children as young as 7 years old, and my oldest patient is in their 90s, so I see everyone. I see anything from a cold or ear infection, all the way up to heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes so I can give comprehensive, lifetime care. If it’s something beyond my scope, I can get at least get you started and get you to a specialist.”
So why see a family physician instead of going to an urgent care clinic? It comes down to continuity of care and how well your doctor knows you. “I think there’s a big difference between having a doctor that you have a relationship with – who knows your family history, knows your medical history, knows what it looks like when you’re really sick or what it looks like when you just need some reassurance – versus going to an urgent care where you’re not getting that continuity of care,” Robinson Harris added.
Along with treating colds and flu, your family medicine physician also can do some biopsies, women’s health annual exams and pap smears, dress and stitch wounds, or help educate and manage long-term conditions or illnesses. “One thing we also handle is mental health issues. Lots of people think they must see a psychiatrist to get medication or to discuss their mental health but that’s not necessarily true. Your family physician can offer psychiatric care for you; they know how to evaluate a crisis and how to get you in with the right people. There are a lot of cases where your family physician is not only adequate, but appropriate,” Robinson Harris said.
Having the relationship with your family medicine or primary care doctor means you always have someone working for you and someone willing to take the time to listen and address your concerns, whatever they may be. “I want people to know that my office is a safe space. It’s a place where you can come and seek quality medical care, listening and compassion. Sometimes you don’t need an extra pill or office visit; sometimes you just need a listening ear and somebody to ask ‘what’s really going on here?’ I want people to feel like this is a warm and welcoming environment, not a scary place like people usually associate with a doctor’s office. We are open and accepting new patients and I’m very much looking forward to taking care of you and your family,” Robinson Harris said.
If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Robinson Harris call Blount Memorial Physicians Group – Family and Internal Medicine at 865-273-1555.