What Are the Different Kinds of PCPs 1 1

What Are the Different Kinds of PCPs?

A primary care physician (PCP), or primary care provider, is a healthcare professional who practices general medicine. PCPs are often our first stop for medical care and provide essential services such as annual checkups and coordinating medical treatment with various specialists. They also often provide the referrals or prescriptions needed to get approved for medical imaging such as CT/MRI scans. 

Although most PCPs are able to perform the same jobs, choosing a specific type of PCP is an important decision to make, especially if you are deciding for you or someone under your care with a chronic condition that requires regular medical imaging.

What do PCPs do?

A primary care doctor is a person you can rely on to help you manage your health. They help with preventive care, like your routine physicals, screenings, and immunizations, and also diagnose and manage many common chronic conditions like hypertension or type 2 diabetes. They’re also there when an illness or injury interrupts your day.

Common services include:

  • Regular physical exams
  • Prescribing medications/exams
  • Managing chronic conditions
  • Screenings for common health problems

For many of your healthcare needs, you may only need to see a PCP. If your needs go beyond their scope, you may need to see a specialist or another doctor.

They treat a wide range of health issues and can help coordinate your medical treatment with various specialists.

For example, if you break a bone or require screening for diseases such as breast cancer, your PCP may refer you to an imaging center for a consultation. To book an appointment, you must have a prescription/referral from a PCP. 

Specialists are responsible for your treatment, but your PCP oversees the entire series of events.

What kind of PCP do I need?

The term “primary care practitioner (PCP)” refers to any of the following types of medical professionals:

  • family medicine practitioner
  • internist
  • pediatrician
  • geriatrician
  • nurse practitioner
  • physician assistant

Family Medicine Doctors

The unique benefit of family medicine doctors is that they care for your whole family. They see babies, children, parents, and grandparents. No matter who in your family is sick, you have one person to call who knows your family history and can provide highly personalized care. 

What do they do?

If the family medicine doctor also treats other members of the family, they may be able to help you get ahead of potential genetic issues, like obesity, heart disease, and high cholesterol.

Internal Medicine Doctors

Internal medicine doctors (also called internists) care for adults from early adulthood through old age. 

What do they do?

An internist is a first-line source of treatment. Because they only treat adult patients, internists are well versed in issues that primarily affect adults, like high blood pressure and early signs of cancer. If you are in need of medical treatment or supervision and are an adult, you may turn to an internist first.


A pediatrician is a medical doctor who specializes in treating infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Pediatric care can begin before conception and continue through pregnancy.

What do they do?

Primary care pediatricians perform regular health and wellness checkups. They also diagnose and treat a wide range of general health conditions, give vaccinations, and offer appropriate health advice to young people and their parents or caregivers. They will give the “ok” for medical imaging in the case of injury or illness to a child, just as X-rays for broken bones or CT/MRI scans for diagnosing. 


Geriatricians are primary care doctors who have additional specialized training in treating older patients. They can practice in outpatient settings, nursing facilities, or hospitals.

What do they do?

Geriatricians diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions and diseases that affect people as they age, including:

  • dementia
  • incontinence
  • cancer
  • hearing and vision loss
  • heart failure
  • frailty
  • balance issues

Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant

Nurse practitioners (NP) are educated to serve a specific population while Physician assistants have a more general background. Physician assistants tend to have a specialty while NPs are more at the patient’s bedside throughout the hospitalization and care.

What do they do?

Depending on state bylaws, the responsibilities of a nurse practitioner include:

  • Ordering, performing, and interpreting lab work, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests
  • Maintaining detailed patient records and charts
  • Diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions

Physician Assistants are also allowed to prescribe medications wherever they are licensed except for Puerto Rico. 

Medmo works closely with primary care physicians of all backgrounds to ensure that our patients receive the best medical imaging services possible. 
To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.


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