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Do Primary Care Doctors do Blood Work?

Primary care doctors can provide a wide range of services for patients, but can they perform blood work? It’s a common question people have when seeking care. The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. While primary care doctors are capable of ordering blood work, it is usually decided on a case-by-case basis. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a better understanding of when primary care doctors might order blood work and the types of tests they might request. Read on to learn more!

Understanding The Scope of Primary Care

Out of all the health care professionals you go to in your lifetime, a primary care physician will typically offer the widest range of care. In a sense, a primary care provider is more of a generalist, and they are trained to provide preventative, diagnostic and treatment care to patients. In short, they provide comprehensive care for individuals of all ages and genders. Ideally, your primary care physician will be someone you see for years and develop an ongoing relationship with, as this allows them to better understand your individual health needs and goals and adjust your care over time. When more specialized, focused care is required, your primary care provider can also refer you to a specialist.

And to answer the question of the day – yes, primary care providers can also order blood work. In addition to ordering it, primary care providers can also help their patients interpret the results and make recommendations for further testing if necessary.

Overall, primary care physicians are vital for maintaining overall health and diagnosing potential health concerns. Establishing a relationship with a primary care provider will help you receive more personalized care and stay on top of your health.

How To Ask Your Doctor To Order Blood Panels

If your doctor thinks a blood panel is necessary to diagnose a condition they suspect is causing your health issues, they may recommend blood work themselves. However, you can also be your own advocate in the healthcare process and can ask your doctor to order blood panels. If you feel like blood work is necessary, don’t hesitate to bring it up to your doctor. Here are some tips for approaching the conversation:

  • Explain your reasoning - Let your primary care provider know the reasons you think you might need a blood panel ordered. Explain why you think it might help or what you think it might reveal.
  • Ask about the tests - Once you’ve explained your symptoms or your reasoning for ordering blood work, ask your provider what tests they recommend and why. They may have some specific tests they want to run that you might not have considered.
  • Get details - Now is also a good time to get details about the cost and insurance coverage for ordering a blood panel. Your doctor may be able to tell you about a more affordable alternative or let you know if they don’t think it is necessary.

Overall, communication is key when it comes to getting the care you need. Don't hesitate to ask questions and voice your concerns. Your primary care provider is there to help you, and blood work is just one tool in the diagnostic process.

The Importance of Routine Blood Work in Diagnosis

Routine blood work is an important part of preventative and diagnostic health care. Outside of requesting a blood panel for specific symptoms and possible conditions, your primary care provider may also recommend routine blood work to catch conditions early and ensure that you’re maintaining a good level of health. 

Routine blood work can typically be ordered during a physical or your regular check-up. Blood panels check a wide variety of different conditions, including high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disease and more.

Blood tests can also be used to measure the efficacy of treatments. If you’re taking medication or following a treatment plan, routine blood work can ensure your condition is improving and allow your doctor to adjust treatment as necessary in response to your results.

Common Types of Blood Work Ordered by Primary Care Providers

There are several different types of blood tests that your doctor may order, depending on your age, health history and overall health. Commonly, these are the blood panels that your primary care provider might order:

Complete blood count (CBC) - A complete blood count panel is a routine test that gives primary care providers a wide range of information about your health. It can provide doctors with a good overall picture or help them diagnose a specific condition. This test will include measurements for:

  • Red blood cell count
  • White blood cell count
  • Platelet count
  • Hematocrit test
  • Hemoglobin test
  • Mean corpuscular volume

Basal metabolic panel (BMP) - A basal metabolic panel is another common routine test. The BMP measures the chemicals in your blood. Here are some of the tests you can expect with a basal metabolic panel:

  • Fasting glucose
  • Electrolytes
  • Kidney function 
  • Carbon dioxide level

By understanding the types of blood work ordered by primary care providers, you can better understand what to expect during your doctor's appointment and why it's important to have routine blood panels done.<p>

Utilizing Telemedicine

More than ever, individuals are taking their health into their own hands and choosing primary care provider options that give them more flexibility. The telemedicine industry has grown in recent years and allows patients to get all the services they expect from primary care from the comfort of their homes. 

Instead of spending long hours at the doctor’s office, traveling to clinics and sitting in waiting rooms, you can speak to primary care providers directly through apps from providers like Circle Medical. Even if you need blood work, your telehealth primary care provider can order it from a nearby lab. This way, you can just go to the nearest lab to get your blood tests done instead of jumping through the hoops of getting a doctor’s appointment just to ask about blood work.

Once you get your blood panels back, your telehealth provider can discuss your results with you through video. No need to head to the doctor again just to discuss your results. This option has made it much easier for people to get their primary care needs met without having to worry about all the inconveniences that come with in-person care.

Reading Your Results

As mentioned, after you've completed your blood work, your primary care provider will review your results with you. It's important to understand what these results mean so you can work together to address any issues that may arise. 

Your blood panel will typically show several important values, such as white blood cell count, red blood cell count, cholesterol levels, platelet count and more. Your provider will help you interpret these values and discuss any potential concerns or abnormalities. If needed, they may recommend follow-up tests or refer you to a specialist depending on your results.

Getting Referrals to Specialists

If your primary care provider determines you need to see a specialist, they will provide you with their recommendation for a referral. A specialist will be able to provide further testing, evaluation or treatment for specific conditions. 

It's important to understand that a referral to a specialist doesn't mean your primary care doctor is unable to provide you with adequate care. Rather, it's a way to ensure you receive the best possible treatment and expertise for your specific health needs.

Your primary care doctor may refer you to a specialist for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Suspected cancer or other serious illnesses
  • Chronic pain or inflammation
  • Heart or lung conditions
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Hormonal imbalances

Talk to a Telehealth Provider Today

If you’re interested in receiving your primary care services from home, then a telehealth provider is your solution. Rather than driving to in-person clinics or waiting weeks for an appointment, a telehealth provider makes it easy to talk to a primary care provider over video. If you’re looking for a comprehensive primary care provider to make care more convenient, choose Circle Medical.

Get Treatment with Circle Medical

Circle Medical is here to make quality primary care more accessible. Our primary care providers can meet with you same-day to provide health advice, diagnoses, treatment plans, specialist referrals and prescriptions when medically appropriate. Make your same-day online appointment with a Circle Medical provider today!

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