Healthy relationships are a cornerstone of happiness and living a full life. They’re mutually beneficial when both parties maintain contact on a regular basis, and nurturing that communication helps us help each other. That’s not only true in friendships and marriages but also in professional relationships, such as between coworkers. Another vital connection to maintain is the one between a patient and his or her primary care provider (PCP).

However, recent studies report that about one in five Americans have not seen their PCP in over five years. That is an unfortunate statistic, but it is, perhaps, not a surprising one for most people. In these days of hectic schedules and overcommitment, many attempt a shortcut by turning to “Dr. Google” to self-diagnose instead of going to see a physician in person. True, the internet is quick—answers can be found at the click of a mouse—but depending on it can cause people to miss the underlying causes of acute medical conditions.  

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Dr. Gavin Chandler, Family Medicine Adairsville

Building relationships, building better health 

A PCP can help with much more than a simple diagnosis, especially when regular visits have built a trusting long-term relationship between patient and doctor. Having a physician who knows a patient’s medical history is of immeasurable value to that patient’s welfare and overall health. Also, unlike a website, a doctor can help a patient build personalized healthy habits—a tailor-made plan—to prevent serious medical conditions. Through regularly scheduled appointments, a doctor can keep a finger on the pulse of the state of a patient’s wellness. “As a primary care physician, we can help our patients set goals and reach them while keeping their physical and mental health top of mind,” says Dr. Garvin Chandler, Family Medicine Adairsville. “One of the best parts of what I do is seeing patients annually, making sure they’re on a healthy track, answering any questions they may have, and continuously building upon these relationships year after year.”  

Dr. Chandler’s excellent medical care does not go unappreciated. One of his patients says, “I can’t begin to tell you how much of a difference Dr. Chandler and his nurse have made for me. They have been so kind, compassionate, and knowledgeable. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a primary care doctor in a heartbeat. I already have several friends who also see him and have told me how happy they are with the medical care his team provides. Thank you, Dr. Chandler and Maleah!” 

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Dr. Katharine Ammons, Internal Medicine Rome

A team effort 

Patients have the added comfort of knowing that Harbin Clinic’s primary care providers do not work in isolation. These medical professionals have ready access to a wide range of other specialties, so if a serious medical problem arises, the continuity of care between doctors is seamless. For those who have fallen into the habit of neglecting their health, scheduling an appointment with a PCP is a great first step to building a strong foundation. 

One of the four physicians at Harbin Clinic Internal Medicine Rome is Dr. Katharine Ammons. She says, “My position as a primary care provider allows me to support my patients through big and small changes and help every step along the way,” says Dr. Ammons. “More than just seeking acute medical treatments, it is important for people to visit their PCP in order to prepare for their future health.

Your primary care physician is an excellent resource when jumpstarting a new health journey.” One long-time patient is enthusiastic about the care she has received from Dr. Ammons, saying, “Dr. Ammons is brilliant and patient and kind! She is always swift in returning my calls or my need for information or care. Most every time I reach out to her, she contacts me within minutes. I know from some of my friends that most doctors do not respond as quickly. I have been seeing her for over twenty-five years. She really listens to me and always includes what I’m experiencing and what I think I need in her decisions regarding my care.” 

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Dr. Mary Katherine Barfield, Primary Care Cartersville

Research suggests that people who annually see a PCP maintain a higher quality of life. This stands to reason since such patients have highly trained physicians paying close attention to their medical needs. Given such personalized attention, it is more likely that any developing health concerns will be caught early. A PCP should be the first point of contact for patients’ health care needs, and they are able to further refer the patient to a specialist if necessary.  

Incorporating certain lifestyle changes and establishing a wellness routine also supports healthy living. This can include losing weight, gaining muscle, getting more physical activity, eating more nutritious foods, quitting cigarettes, cutting back on alcohol, reducing stress, and sleeping better. It is also important to visit your primary care provider at least once a year. The Harbin Clinic Family Medicine and Internal Medicine care teams are here to help people reach their health goals, no matter how big or small. 


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