PRINE Health
Kidney specialist

Do I Need a Primary Care Doctor to Work with My Kidney Specialist?

If you are experiencing issues related to kidney disease, you should be working with a specialist that knows your problems and deals directly with your particular needs. While that doctor is key to your health regarding your kidneys, that doesn’t mean that he or she should be your only medical practitioner. Nor should your primary doctor be the person who is solely in charge of your renal disease issues.

Too often, kidneys are overlooked in general practice. Issues can be mistaken or ignored. Too often, patients and their primary care providers can be unaware of renal problems. By failing to understand or recognize underlying kidney issues, a patient can be in stage 3 chronic kidney disease, which can quickly dwindle to stage 4 before it is caught and dealt with. In general practice, kidneys are often ignored not because of negligence but because of a lack of understanding and communication with a kidney health specialist.

How do doctors create a valid path between nephrology and primary care so that more patients can be helped more quickly before kidney disease (CKD) takes hold?

Communication must be set up between the primary care doctor and the nephrologist. A nephrologist doctor specializes in the diseases and conditions that affect the kidneys. Their job is to understand and treat chronic kidney disease, kidney infections, and, ultimately, kidney failure. The hope is to catch such ailments long before reaching the situation of kidney failure and the need for dialysis. When the primary care doctor works hand in hand with the nephrologist, the patient may be able to see a far better outcome regarding his or her kidney and overall health.

There is a shortage of nephrologists in the field, and thusly having a primary care doctor who is savvy and better educated about the signs of renal issues, can help catch issues before they escalate. This is not an uncommon concept. Primary care doctors have become adept at diagnosing other diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Collaborative care is the best hope for patients who need both the input of a specialist and the care of a primary physician who often knows the person’s medical history more intimately. Working together is the key to health success.

What is the best way to merge the care of a general practitioner and a kidney specialist when facing renal health issues?

The goal of any doctor is to create the best possible quality of life for his or her patients. Whether a specialist or a primary care doctor, information is the most critical factor. It is often difficult for doctors who are not working in the same practice to communicate effectively. However, we need to have these severe and intricate problem-solving conversations. The sooner a nephrologist is involved in the care of the patient-facing kidney disease, the better the chance for less stressful long-term outcomes. It will often fall upon the primary care doctor to help the patient make difficult lifestyle changes, including changes in eating habits and diet, stress management, exercise regimens, and even sleep habits. These doctors are often tasked to offer a form of psychological counseling about these difficult changes. The cross-over benefits for patients’ other diagnoses are well known.

In return, the family physician understands the importance of the guidance and planning the consulting nephrologist brings to the table as the expert on this pathology. They need to agree on the things that are of utmost importance for patients in both their care and help the patients they are working with, collaborating to succeed in making those necessary life changes. Together, they can motivate the patient to reach the best possible health outcome.

When a medical practice includes both primary physicians and nephrologists in the same environment, collaboration is far easier to achieve. Time may be of the essence with many patients. Having doctors who work well together and communicate easily is the best-case scenario when dealing with patients facing the arduous treatments for kidney disease (CKD). This kind of communication between PCPs and specialists have proven track records of improved clinical outcomes when dealing with chronic illnesses. Too often, this collaboration doesn’t happen, so when it is part of the practice, the patient benefits exponentially.

PRINE Health has physical offices in the Manhasset and Hicksville, New York area that includes both primary care doctors and nephrologists. They also offer telemedicine. If you’re seeking a nephrologist and primary care collaborative team, the professionals at PRINE Health would love to speak with you and assist you in your health success.

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