Primary Care Physician

Role of the Primary Care Physician in the Management of Rheumatic Diseases


A primary care physician (PCP) provides the initial and ongoing comprehensive care of a patient’s health and wellness, including diagnosis and management, acute and chronic illness, health promotion and maintenance, disease prevention, and patient education.

What Does a Primary Care Physician Do?

  • Works in partnership with medical, surgical, and other medical specialists, including rheumatologists, to diagnose, treat, and manage patient health
  • Works either as part of a medical group or in an independent private practice, and frequently has regular, long-term patients
  • Treats generally healthy patients for the management of illnesses, injuries, or long-term, non-severe conditions
  • Serves as the initial contact for many patients and needs to be able to care for a wide range of illnesses and injuries, as well as preventive care, with referrals to specialists as needed

Where Does a Primary Care Physician Work?

  • Outpatient office settings
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing facilities

What Kind of Training Does a Primary Care Physician Have?

After graduation from medical school, a PCP completes a postgraduate residency program in either family medicine (practice), internal medicine, pediatrics, or gynecology. The postgraduate program can take at least three years or more if the PCP receives additional training.

This information is provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment of a medical or health condition.

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