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Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 12:32 am

Your child’s medical home

It’s healthy to go where doctors know your name

PHOTO BY JASON JOHNSON, SIU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE.
Michelle Miner, SIU Medicine Department of Pediatrics, and a young patient.

 

As walk-in clinics and telemedicine appointments abound, parents are often tempted by the quick and convenient care afforded by the quick, retail-based clinics. But having a primary care physician or pediatrician – a medical home – for your kids is a prescription for good health.

In fact, building a long-term, ongoing relationship with a pediatrician or family medicine physician can lead to significant health benefits.

Why else should you establish a medical home for you and your children? Southern Illinois University Medicine says a primary care physician leads to these benefits.

Staying healthier
A regular physician can help you manage chronic health conditions, like diabetes or anxiety, and make recommendations specific to you and your lifestyle.

Greater trust
Regular checkups mean your doctor knows your medical history, or your child’s. As time goes on, it will be easier to discuss private health concerns or those embarrassing questions.

More accurate diagnoses
Because your doctor knows your child’s medical history, she’s more likely to recognize when something isn’t right. Plus, pediatricians are specially trained to recognize developmental milestones and are well equipped to deal with everything from cradle to college.

Referrals to specialists
When your doc suspects an underlying issue that might require more specialized care, he or she can quickly send you to the right person.

Staying up-to-date for school physicals
Never miss your kindergartner, sixth, ninth or 12th-grader’s school physicals and vaccinations, such as tetanus or meningococcal vaccines, with the help of your pediatrician or family medicine doctor.

“By having a family doctor or pediatrician, parents don’t have to worry about whether their child’s immunizations are up to date,” says Doug Carlson, M.D., professor and chair of pediatrics at SIU Medicine. “Especially in pediatrics, physicals are based on physical and emotional development, so it’s important to have that relationship with one primary care physician who’s following you through your growth and development.

In 2016, nearly 600 students in Springfield Public School District 186 were excluded from school because of missing physicals and/or immunizations. Since 2014, the Keep Kids in School Coalition, a group of local health care providers and district officials, worked together to provide physicals and vaccines for students who had difficulty getting to a doctor. This group is a collaborative effort among Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield Public Schools District 186, Central Counties Health Center, St. John’s College of Nursing, St. Clare’s Health Clinic at Catholic Charities, Sangamon County Department of Public Health, Sangamon County Medical Society and Midwest Technical Institute.

Choosing a primary care doctor or pediatrician for your child is a personal journey. Look for a doctor who makes you and your child comfortable, listens to your concerns and makes you feel at ease.

Lauren Murphy is the media coordinator for SIU School of Medicine. She and her fiancé are proud cat parents.

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