By Amy Roberts

Dr. Joe Ferriter, MD

105It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

But establishing a relationship with a primary care doctor is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Primary care doctors often see your whole

And nowhere is that more applicable than in the world of health care. Longtime Park City resident and primary care doctor, Joe Ferriter agrees, noting: “It is always better and less expensive to prevent a disease than it is to treat it.”

But Dr. Ferriter says many people tend to put off going to the doctor until they have a concern, and that can be a risky mistake. He says the reasons for not seeing a doctor regularly vary, but excuses in Park City are a little more unique.

“The population here prides itself in being active, so we tend to think of ourselves as exceptionally healthy and fit and don’t think we need to see our doctor each year. I know a lot of people who don’t see a doctor unless they’ve torn their ACL. And if you do get someone to make an appointment, if it happens to be a powder day, forget it,” he added with a chuckle.

But establishing a relationship with a primary care doctor is one of the best things you can do for your health. Primary care doctors often see your whole family, so they know your family’s health history. They perform annual check-ups, allowing you to see any changes in your health year over year. They take care of your overall health needs, focusing on wellness and prevention. They make sure you get recommended screenings and risk assessments, and they also help you navigate the complex health care world and refer you to specialists.

Dr. Ferriter recommends seeing your primary care physician at least once per year, even if nothing is wrong.

“Just like you take your car to a mechanic for a tune-up, you need a primary care doctor to tune you up and run through a checklist to make sure you’re performing at your best. Even if you feel fine, blood tests and health screenings are often the best indicators of your overall health,” noted Dr. Ferriter.

106In Park City, two clinics are part of the Intermountain Healthcare system, making it easier for your primary care doctor to follow your progress, should you ever need a specialist.

Round Valley Clinic and Mountain Family Health are both accepting new patients and offer easy and convenient access to primary care doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and other medical specialists.

Dr. Ferriter, who practices at Round Valley Clinic, says some people get confused over what type of provider they need to see and who does what. He provided this insight:
• Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) are often your first contact. Though they go through a different training and certification process than a doctor, NPs and PAs are able to diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medication and provide preventive care. They do so while practicing in collaboration with a licensed medical doctor.
• Internists are trained to solve puzzling diagnostic problems, and as such are often referred to as a “doctor’s doctor” because they help other physicians make difficult diagnoses. Internal medicine doctors can handle severe chronic illnesses and are dedicated to helping patients prevent diseases. They promote wellness and help coordinate care with specialists.
• Primary care doctors provide care for patients from childhood to adulthood. They provide comprehensive care and can treat a wide range of conditions. They focus on overall health, wellness and prevention and coordinate your care throughout your lifespan.

Dr. Ferriter says patients who have a primary care doctor also have better management of chronic diseases, lower healthcare costs, and are healthier people overall.

“By developing a relationship with a primary care doctor, you have an
advocate and someone on your team when it comes to your health,” said Dr. Ferriter. “Primary care doctors are your first line of defense in getting well and staying healthy.”

In short, seeing your primary care doctor at least once a year is your prescription for a healthy life.

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