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Primary care and concierge medicine play an essential role in maintaining lasting health and promoting recovery. Primary care generally serves as the foundation of healthcare services, providing comprehensive and continuous care to individuals of all ages. Primary care doctors are often the first point of contact for patients, and they play a vital role in preventing and managing chronic conditions, promoting recovery, and coordinating care with specialists. For many chronic conditions, a primary care physician can often serve as the quarterback, leading and coordinating with a patient’s team of specialists. Building a strong relationship with a primary care doctor is crucial for positive health outcomes and improved prognosis. 

The Breakdown- Why Primary Care? 

  • Primary care is a fundamental aspect for maintaining lifelong health.
  • Primary care providers play a key role in promoting and facilitating recovery efforts.
  • Building a strong relationship with your primary care provider is essential. 
  • Regular check-ups can prevent health issues and allow for early intervention.
  • Primary care can support the management of chronic conditions.

Primary Care/The Definition:  

According to, “Health services that cover a range of prevention, wellness, and treatment for common illnesses. Primary care providers include doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. They often maintain long-term relationships with you and advise and treat you on a range of health related issues. They may also coordinate your care with specialists.” 

“The provision of integrated, accessible health care services by clinicians who are accountable for addressing a large majority of personal health care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community.” (Medicine, I. O. (1994). SUMMARY. In I. O. Medicine, Defining Primary Care: An Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.)

The Importance of Primary Care

Primary care is a branch of healthcare that provides comprehensive, continuous, and coordinated care to individuals. It encompasses a wide range of services, including preventive care, health promotion, disease management, and acute care. Primary care providers are trained to address a broad spectrum of health issues and are equipped to manage both common and complex conditions.  Primary Care is often the first stop for patients and having a strong alliance with your physician can be essential. 

One of the key roles of primary care is preventing and managing chronic conditions. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Primary care providers play a crucial role in identifying risk factors, providing early intervention, and managing these conditions to prevent complications and improve outcomes.

Having a primary care provider offers countless benefits. Firstly, they provide individualized care that takes into account a patient’s unique medical history, lifestyle, and preferences. This customized and integrative approach allows for more effective prevention and management of health conditions. Additionally, primary care providers can serve as advocates for their patients, helping them navigate the intricacies of our healthcare system and coordinating care with specialists when needed.  

The Role of Primary Care in Recovery

Primary care providers play a vital role in supporting patients on their recovery journey. Whether recovering from an acute illness or managing a chronic condition such as addiction, primary care providers provide ongoing support and guidance to help patients achieve their health goals and improve outcomes.

Primary care providers can support patients in their recovery journey by providing education about their condition, treatment options, and self-management strategies. They can help patients set realistic goals and develop personalized care plans that take into account their unique needs and circumstances. By empowering patients to take an active role in their recovery, primary care providers can improve adherence to treatment plans and promote better prognosis. 

At Carrara treatment, the patient’s primary care physician often provides psychoeducation about medication assisted treatment for patients who are a good candidate for this approach.  We want to ensure our patients have options and empower them to work collaboratively with their medical team.  

“Patients who take an active role in their care may not only feel more satisfied with their doctors, but also more in control over their own health and well-being,” says Rebecca Shragge, DO, an internal medicine physician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Hillcrest.

Building a Strong Alliance with Your Primary Care Provider— 5 Tips

Establishing a strong relationship with your primary care provider is crucial for optimal health outcomes. Here are some tips for building a strong partnership:

  1. Choose the right provider: Take the time to find a primary care provider who aligns with your values, communicates effectively, and makes you feel comfortable. Consider factors such as their experience, expertise, and approach to  client care.
  2. Be prepared for appointments: Before each appointment, make a list of questions or concerns you want to discuss. Bring any relevant medical records or test results to provide your primary care provider with a complete picture of your health.  Some questions to consider are: 

Do you have any new symptoms you want to discuss with your doctor?  Do you want to review any side effects or medication questions?  Discuss treatment options?  Review lab results?  

Many physicians only have a limited amount of time allowed for each appointment.  Make your time count and be prepared. 

  1. Communicate openly: Honest communication is key to building trust and ensuring that your primary care provider has all the information they need to provide the best possible care. Be honest about your symptoms, concerns, and lifestyle habits.  Many patients may have had bad experiences in the past, finding the right fit is essential in order to share openly about your symptoms and concerns. 
  2. Follow through on recommendations: Your primary care provider may recommend lifestyle changes, screenings, or treatments to improve your health. It’s important to follow through on these recommendations and communicate any challenges or concerns you may have.  It’s crucial to be transparent about challenges you may have in order to receive help from your physician. 
  3. Advocate for yourself: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, seek clarification, or voice your concerns. Remember that you are an active participant in your healthcare journey, and your input is valuable.  If you don’t feel comfortable asking questions and advocating for oneself, many doctors offices have patient advocates to assist. 

A strong patient-provider relationship based on open communication and trust is essential for effective primary care and recovery.

Managing Chronic Conditions with Primary Care Support

Primary care providers play a vital role in supporting patients with chronic conditions. Primary care providers are well-positioned to provide the necessary support and education to help patients effectively manage their conditions.

Ongoing visits with your primary care provider can involve the following:

  • Screenings 
  • Checkups
  • Coordinating treatment 
  • Patient education 

Patient education is a key component of chronic disease management. Primary care providers provide information about the condition, treatment options, and self-management strategies. They can help patients understand their medications, monitor their symptoms, and make lifestyle modifications to improve their health.

Self-management is an essential aspect of chronic disease management. Primary care providers can work closely with patients to empower them to take an active role in their healthcare.  This can be done by providing tools, self-assessments and resources for self-monitoring, goal setting, and problem-solving. Primary care providers can improve adherence to treatment plans and promote better outcomes when patients are equipped with the knowledge to play an active role in the management of their condition/s.

Addressing Mental Health and Substance Abuse Through Primary Care

Mental health and substance abuse are significant public health concerns that often co-occur with health conditions. Primary care providers play a crucial role in assessing and addressing these issues by providing integrated care that addresses both the physical and mental aspects of health.

“A review of the literature, including the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, shows that many persons experience the consequences of behavioral health conditions, including mental health disorders, substance abuse and misuse, and lifestyle issues (such as inappropriate eating behaviors, sedentary lifestyle, and patterns of social isolation). These conditions are linked to increased likelihood of physical illness, higher mortality rates, poorer treatment outcomes, and higher health care costs.”

Primary care providers are often the first point of contact for individuals seeking help for mental health, substance abuse issues, and chronic conditions. They can provide initial assessments, offer counseling or therapy referrals, prescribe medications when necessary, and refer patients to specialized mental health or substance abuse services.

Integrated care, which combines physical and mental health services, has been shown to improve outcomes for individuals with co-occurring conditions. 

According to SAMHSA, with early detection, integrated treatment can improve outcomes and quality of life for people with co-occurring disorders, including:

  • Reduced or discontinued substance use
  • Improvement in psychiatric symptoms and functioning
  • Increased chance for successful treatment and recovery for both disorders
  • Improved quality of life
  • Decreased hospitalization
  • Reduced medication interactions
  • Increased housing stability
  • Fewer arrests


Furthermore, by addressing both physical and mental health needs with integrated treatment, primary care providers can provide comprehensive care that promotes recovery, improves patient outcomes, and overall well-being.

Empowering Patients to Take Control of Their Health and Recovery

According to a study from the University of Birmingham, it was found that patients who felt empowered and involved in their care decisions had higher levels of satisfaction and better health outcomes.

Empowerment plays a critical role in enhancing the quality of patient care and overall recovery. When patients are empowered, they are more likely to be engaged thus leading to better compliance with treatment and improved outcomes.  

According to the URMC, Here are some ways patients can take an active role in their care:

  1. Be Informed:
    • Decide what you want to get out of an appointment before you walk into the office.
    • Write down any questions you have and any issues you want to discuss beforehand. Bring your notes and refer to them.
  2. Be Responsible:
    • Schedule and keep medical appointments.
    • Answer your healthcare provider’s questions completely and truthfully.
    • If you don’t think your treatment is helping you, speak up. Ask what to expect while you’re getting better and how long your healthcare provider thinks it will take before your illness is cured or your symptoms are under control. It’s important to speak openly about symptoms because your provider uses the information you provide to make a diagnosis and determine a treatment plan.
  3. Learn about your condition:
    • Understanding your condition can help you manage and control ongoing (chronic) illnesses
    • Ask questions – the purpose of tests and procedures, expected outcomes, etc.
  4. Learn about your medicines:
    • The medicine’s name and what it’s supposed to do
    • How often you should take it
    • Any medicines, foods, or drinks to stay away from
    • Possible side effects
    • What you should do if you forget a dose


Additional Tips:

  1. Set goals: Work with your primary care provider to set realistic goals for your health and recovery.
  2. Practice self-care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Carrara treatment teaches clients the crucial role self-care plays in a successful recovery.  Our client’s include self-care practices in their relapse prevention plan.  This can be shared with your primary care physician for an integrative and comprehensive plan.
  3. Advocate for yourself: Be an active participant in your healthcare by asking questions, seeking clarification, and voicing your concerns or preferences. Remember that you have the right to make informed decisions about your health.  Bring a loved one or support with you if you have difficulty advocating for yourself.  

By taking an active role in healthcare and recovery, patients can improve their health outcomes, enhance their quality of life, and achieve a sense of empowerment and control over their health. 

What’s Next – The Future of Primary Care and Recovery:

The field of primary care and recovery is constantly evolving, with new innovations to improve access and outcomes. Here are some trends that are shaping the future of primary care:

  1. Telemedicine: Telemedicine allows patients to access primary care services remotely through video consultations or phone calls. This technology has the potential to improve access to care, particularly for individuals in rural or underserved areas.  Telemedicine can also be great for patients who feel safer seeking services from home, rather than a physician’s office. 
  2. Health technology: Wearable devices, mobile apps, and other health technologies are becoming increasingly popular tools for monitoring health conditions, tracking progress, and promoting self-management. We have already seen technologies that have enhanced patient engagement and improved health outcomes.  
  3. Collaborative care models: involves a team of healthcare professionals working together to provide comprehensive care are gaining traction. This approach allows for more holistic and coordinated care, particularly for individuals with complex or chronic conditions.  “Under the collaborative model, both patients and physicians define the problems that require solution. One tool of collaborative care is the setting of goals through action plans agreed between physician and patient.” (Bodenheimer T. Primary care in the United States. Innovations in primary care in the United States. BMJ. 2003 Apr 12;326(7393):796-9. doi: 10.1136/bmj.326.7393.796. PMID: 12689977; PMCID: PMC153099.)
  4. Advanced Access:  involves a new model of appointment scheduling for same day appointments. 
  5. Concierge medicine: is a relationship between a patient and a physician in which the patient generally pays an annual fee or retainer. In exchange for the retainer, doctors agree to provide enhanced care, including commitments to ensure adequate time and availability for each patient.  A concierge medical practice can provide direct access and personalized care to patients. Physicians operating a concierge medical practice will typically form their own boutique medical practice consisting of a small number of qualified physicians.


“Concierge Medicine: Greater Access for a Fee”PBS NewsHour,

Primary care trends and innovations are leading to better patient outcomes and enhanced patient experiences. The future of primary care and recovery is emerging with trends and innovations such as telemedicine, health technology, team-based care, patient empowerment, and a focus on health promotion and prevention.

In conclusion, Primary care and concierge medicine play an essential role in maintaining lasting health and promoting recovery. Primary care serves as the foundation of healthcare services, providing comprehensive and integrative care to individuals of all ages. Primary care doctors are often the first point of contact for patients, and they play a vital role in preventing and managing chronic conditions, promoting recovery, and coordinating care with specialists.


The NSDUH Report: Substance Use and Mental Health Estimates from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Overview of Findings. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 201

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