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Why It’s Important to See Your Doctor

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Scheduling in-office visits, tests and elective procedures

Posted by Margot Savoy, MD, MPH

A Temple doctor performs an in-office examination.

Now more than ever, it’s important to stay healthy. That means keeping up with preventive care and addressing any symptoms or conditions that may have come up over the past few months. Thankfully, many doctor’s offices are now open and ready to see patients.

If you’re wondering what to expect, you’re not alone. As a primary care doctor, I’ll explain why it’s essential to go ahead and schedule those in-office visits, tests and elective procedures.

Why is it important for patients to start rescheduling prior appointments?

Your doctor may have delayed surgeries or tests temporarily, but it’s important to continue communicating with your doctor about your medical needs. Not only to maintain your health but also to address any existing or new problems or conditions.

Here are some of the top reasons why maintaining your healthcare matters:

Stay on top of preventive care

Even if you’re feeling great, you should still continue to see your doctor at least once a year for preventive care. During this visit, you can:

  • Review any medicines you’re taking
  • Talk about your health in general
  • Discuss any issues you may be having

You may also be screened for early signs of conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can lead to more serious conditions if left untreated.

Seeing your doctor on a regular basis helps you maintain a relationship with your doctor’s practice, so that your doctor is aware of changes in your health and can address them quickly with changes in medication or helping you find a specialist.

Manage more complex conditions

When serious or complex conditions go untreated, irreversible damage can occur. Keeping appointments or making new appointments with specialists may prevent unwanted visits to the emergency room and help you to avoid lengthy hospital stays. For example:

Heart conditions

Your heart health is important. Cardiovascular conditions such as blocked arteries from plaque build-up or a leaky heart valve can lead to more serious problems such as heart failure or even sudden death. While some people can have a blocked artery or leaky valve and never have symptoms, others develop symptoms such as tiredness, a feeling that your heart is fluttering, or breathlessness.

If you notice any of these symptoms, do not delay. Talk to your doctor about seeing a heart specialist.

Learn more about how you can prevent heart disease >

Joint pain

Achy, stiff and painful joints can occur in any part of the body, but the most common areas include the knees, hips, hands and shoulders. While some joint pain may be the result of overuse if you’re active, it can also point to more serious conditions. These include different types of arthritis, sprains, broken or fractured bones, tendinitis or even cancer.

If you have experienced a joint injury or if the joint area is swollen, red or tender to the touch, an orthopaedic specialist is best equipped to diagnose and treat your condition or injury. If you do not have an orthopaedic doctor, ask your primary care doctor for a referral.

Learn the basics about joint pain >

Digestive diseases

Digestive diseases can take on many forms. And because people with digestive diseases may look fine on the outside, it may be difficult to understand they’re suffering on the inside.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are types of digestive diseases that cause frequent trips to the bathroom and stomach discomfort that can keep you from doing the things you enjoy. Other conditions, such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder), can make something as simple as eating a chore.

While some digestive diseases cannot be cured, a gastroenterologist will identify therapies to help you stay as healthy as possible and keep bothersome symptoms under control. Nutrition is critical to health, so digestive issues should not wait.

Learn more about promising therapies for digestive diseases >

Lung conditions

Breathing difficulty and coughing can signal many conditions, including the common cold and allergies. They can also point to more serious lung conditions, such as asthma or COPD. It can be difficult to know the difference.

That’s why it’s important to see a specialist, such as a pulmonologist, especially if symptoms are ongoing. A pulmonologist can help identify what’s causing your symptoms and help you develop a treatment plan to feel your best, avoid serious complications and avoid hospital stays.

Read more about lung diseases such as COPD and how Temple can help >

What is the best way to see a doctor?

At Temple, we want to see our patients at the right time in the right location. For many, we’re able to schedule remote appointments using telehealth. For others, an in-office appointment may be required. Your best bet is to call your doctor’s office directly. Our providers will work with you to determine the best type of appointment for you.

What steps has Temple taken to protect patients during in-office doctor visits, tests and procedures?

Your safety is very important to us. We’ve put a number of protocols in place based on the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), local and federal government, and leading medical institutions. These include:

  • Reducing the number of patients that are scheduled at one time.
  • Limiting the number of people within office clinical spaces.
  • Limiting visitors so there are not extra people sitting in the waiting rooms and exam rooms.
  • Spacing out seating in waiting rooms so that patients can sit at least 6-feet apart.
  • Streamlining workflow to get you to the private exam room quickly.
  • Requiring all staff and patients to wear masks.
  • Following guidelines for disinfecting between visits, including the use of cleaning solutions that fight against bacteria and viruses, such as COVID-19.
  • Using symptom monitoring technology for staff.

More safety precautions and protocols designed to protect Temple patients and staff >

While things have definitely changed, we’re proud to say that we’ve made every effort to keep your in-office experience at Temple as normal as possible. Our staff is here to welcome you and guide you through.

So go ahead and schedule those appointments. We’ll see you there.

Margot Savoy, MD, MPH

Dr. Savoy is a family medicine doctor with clinical interests in comprehensive primary care across all age groups, preventive medicine, and integration of primary care and public health. She is also an LGBTQ Affirming Provider. At the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, she is Chair and Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine.

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