Whether you live in Lebanon, Palmyra or Timbuktoo it’s no secret that women don’t enjoy going to see their gynecologist for their annual exam. Many women prefer seeing their Primary Care Provider (PCP) and have their pelvic exam performed at that time. Doing everything at your PCP seems to be a winning solution- you only have to go to one office, only have to take off of work one time, and only have to pay one co-pay. However, as an OBGYN provider, I will tell you that the benefits aren’t always that great.
I see a number of patients each week to discuss an abnormality found at their PCP visit, usually, an abnormality on the pap smear or something not quite “normal” on an ultrasound. Usually, I end up explaining the test result and laying out a plan for how we are going to follow this new result. While I am happy to see all patients, and greatly value my primary care colleagues, there is something to be said for seeing the same provider for your test and your follow up.
Pap smear recommendations have changed drastically over the past 20 years, and even within the past 5-10 years. Where at one time we used to perform cervical biopsies on most women, we now know that some abnormalities can be followed for another year. With that said, there are some abnormalities that need to be dealt with immediately.
Pelvic ultrasounds may require follow up, depending on that patient’s particular situation. For me, it is far more valuable to look at images myself when deciding on a course of action. At the Women’s Health Center of Lebanon, ultrasounds are performed in our office and read by one of the OBGYN doctors here. If we see something worrisome, we can intervene quickly and alleviate the problem. So instead of a patient waiting to see a specialist, the process is streamlined and the problem can be dealt with quickly.
If you think about it, who has performed more pelvic exams, pap smears, and read more pelvic ultrasounds than your gynecologist? So, rather than having one person perform your pap smear and another talk to you about the results and how to manage them, doesn’t it make more sense to go to the gynecology office and have the same provider do everything? Doesn’t it make more sense to have a pelvic exam, ultrasound, and discussion on management with the same provider? Rather than taking another day off of work to go see a specialist to find out that you need a pap smear next year or another test in the next few weeks, doesn’t it make more sense to go straight to the source and build a relationship with that provider?
In today’s world, where our schedules are packed and healthcare costs are rising, it makes more sense to see one provider who can take care of all of your gynecologic needs. When was your last annual visit? Isn’t it time to schedule an appointment?