Primary Care And You
Family Doctor and You
In Hong Kong, people live hectic lives and are stressful. Prevention is better than cure. Sparing some time for health checks may have benefits. Many private hospitals and credit card companies promote various health check packages. How should members of the public choose wisely and ensure the selected package is cost- effective?
There is no single package which suits all. If you initiate your own health check, it will be best to seek advice from your family doctor who knows your medical history. He/she can assess your health risks, taking note of your age, sex and risk of hereditary diseases, etc. He/she will then advise on examination(s) and/or test(s) which need to be included to ensure that the health check has purpose and will be cost-effective. A comprehensive health check should include physical examination and targeted tests. Unnecessarily tests do more harm than good. We also have to take note of the risks involved for specific tests: for example, invasive medical procedure such as colonoscopy has a risk of bowel perforation; excessive X-ray examination will adversely affect health. Hence, consulting your family doctor is crucial before a health check. Tests should be prescribed according to individual needs. Unnecessary tests cost you money and time. Your family doctor can advise on the most appropriate preventive care plan to give you peace of mind, avoiding unnecessary tests and worries.
Getting a health check is not to offer reassurance. Through the process of undergoing a health check, you can understand your own physical condition and identify potential health risks. The most important issue is to follow up these health risks and manage them. If all tests are confirmed to be negative, this does not mean you can indulge in unhealthy lifestyles. On the contrary, you should seek advice from your family doctor on what you need to pay attention to, in order to maintain health. In case there are abnormal finding(s), your family doctor will offer appropriate treatment and counseling, or refer you to a specialist for follow up care.
The Primary Care Directory (PCD), set up by the Primary Care Office of the Department of Health, is an electronic database containing personal and practice-based information of primary care providers.
If you do not have a family doctor, you may wish to visit the Primary Care Directory at www.familydoctor.gov.hk or our mobile website http://m.familydoctor.gov.hk to search for one who can suit your needs.