Melly Goodell, MD, chair, Department of Family Medicine at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, answers some common questions about why it’s important to build a relationship with a primary care physician (PCP)—even if you’re in good health.
Q: Who should have a primary care physician?
Dr. Goodell: Everyone needs a Primary Care Physician. Your PCP will monitor and coordinate your health care as you get older. He or she will also refer you to the proper specialist when you need one. It’s important to establish a relationship of trust with a physician you know, early on. This will allow you to take care of any health need you may encounter in a timely fashion.
Q: Why is an annual checkup important?
Dr. Goodell: A checkup is all about prevention and early detection. It also gives you a chance to discuss health concerns and ask your doctor any questions you may have.
Q: What kinds of screenings and tests are part of an annual visit?
Dr. Goodell: Your doctor will obtain a complete medical history, including social and family history. He or she will check your vital signs (temperature, pulse, rate of breathing, and blood pressure) and perform a thorough physical exam. A series of labs and imaging studies customized to your health, gender and age may be ordered, including a lipid profile to check your cholesterol levels and blood glucose to check for diabetes, among others. These labs help detect any abnormalities that may indicate a health problem. Your doctor will advise you if you need screening tests such as a mammogram and colonoscopy. Your immunization status will be updated and necessary vaccines will be administered.
It’s important to follow up and discuss all results with your doctor a few days after your visit.
Finally, staying healthy is a team effort, so stay informed and proactive regarding your health.
To schedule an appointment, please call 443-777-8300.
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
9000 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237
The Primary Care Center is located on the 2nd floor of the hospital.