Today, January 13, 2018, a physician-patient, in her mid-60s, asked me point-blank: “Rey, can you be my primary physician?” I was taken aback when she suddenly asked me this question. One, I know she knows that I am a surgeon. Second, I was wondering what she meant by “primary physician.”
Primary physician as I know it is the main physician of a patient for whatever health problem he / she may have.
I googled it tonight (January 13, 2018). I cannot find a good definition of primary physician. What I saw were mostly definitions on “primary care physician.”
Free Dictionary defines it as “a physician, such as a general practitioner or internist, chosen by an individual to serve as his or her health-care professional and capable of handling a variety of health-related problems, of keeping a medical history and medical records on the individual, and of referring the person to specialist as needed.”
When I asked my physician-patient what exactly did she mean “I will be her primary physician,” she answered me just like Free Dictionary defines a primary care physician, except that I am surgeon. I asked why me as I am not a formal general practitioner or internist? She said she is comfortable with my mindset as a physician and as a person. Specifically, she said we have the same wavelength; we are aligned in term of mindset. Furthermore, she said, I already have her medical history and medical records. In addition she said she has full trust and confidence in me. She has been consulting me for more than 20 years. Aside from her, she would bring all the members of her family to me, daughters, nieces, and maids. Actually, I was de facto a family physician to her family.
She said I could refer her or any of her family members to other specialists as needed. But, I will be the first and main physician. She added she will put up an advance directive soon and will discuss this with me. She wanted me to be the “implementor.”
We parted ways with my agreeing to be her primary physician or primary care physician.
ROJoson as a primary physician? A primary physician for a single patient? A primary physician for a family? Why not?
As the primary physician and if the medical condition is within my expertise, patient and family should trust my ROJoson’s Way –
As the primary physician and if the medical condition is not within my expertise, I will refer but I have to make sure value-based health services and patient experience are being rendered by the referred physicians.
I will have to orchestrate the medical management if there are multiple specialists involved and make sure value-based health services and patient experience are being rendered by all physicians.
As a primary physician, I will have to meet the expectations of my patient but tempered with a shared agreement between my patient and myself . This should include the advance directive.
From hereon (starting January 13, 2018), I resolve to develop a program ROJoson as the Primary Physician. This will complement the program ROJoson as the Holistic Physician-Surgeon.