Which Primary Care Provider Should I Select?

by Delilah Newton | Apr 06, 2021

What is the difference between a medical doctor, nurse practitioner, doctor of osteopathic medicine, and physician’s assistant, and which one is the best fit to be my primary care provider?

The short answer is, all of them! Finding a primary care provider (PCP) that fits your needs can sometimes be a challenge. The team at Columbus Regional Health’s WellConnect makes it a priority to pair you with the provider that fits you best.

A primary care provider practices general medicine and provides preventative care and treatment for you and your family. Routine screenings, vaccines, non-emergency care, acute illnesses are all things primary care providers can address. Now, which type of primary care provider is best for me? 

M.D. (Medical Doctor)
A medical doctor is the most common type of allopathic medicine practicing doctor. They can provide specialized care or be you and your family’s primary care doctor. They can practice independently, and they often focus on diagnosing and treating disease.

NP (Nurse Practitioner)
A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with further advanced training and specialized education, meaning obtaining a Master’s degree, a Ph.D., or a doctorate. NP’s can address patients in primary, acute, or specialty care services, and often collaborate with a physician as well.

D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine)
A doctor of osteopathic medicine is a doctor who has a more holistic view of medicine. That means they may treat you as a whole individual, not only the symptoms you present. These doctors can practice independently.

PA (Physician’s Assistant)
A physician's assistant is another excellent primary care choice who works under the supervision and direction of a licensed physician such as an M.D. or D.O. These providers often have a Master’s degree and are licensed through the state to practice medicine. 

Each provider may have a different background in training and education, but each is fully qualified to take care of your day-to-day medical needs. All practitioners listed can prescribe, diagnose, and treat. Each of them can refer out to specialists, guide you in healthy lifestyle choices, and support you on your journey to long-term health and wellness. 

If you are without a primary care provider, we encourage you to call WellConnect at 812-376-5136 Monday- Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., or send an email to crhwellconnect@crh.org to establish with a Columbus Regional Health provider. WellConnect is your one-stop-shop for a stress-free connection to a primary care provider. We look forward to being your health and wellness partner for life!
MHenry3
Molly Henry
Connection Specialist & Certified SHIP Counselor


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