I consider myself first and foremost a ‘consumer’ of health care. I have also served time on committees as a patient representative over many years and have advocated for patients on a number of health issues. I know that this makes me more knowledgeable about the health care system than the average ‘consumer’. While I am not a health care provider, I have observed the system as it functions, or not, in many ways. A recent experience with my mother led me to start expanding my thinking about what primary care is and who provides it.
Like many people I have always tended to think of the primary care provider as my doctor, maybe a nurse, but probably my physician. In spite of being knowledgeable about health care, I have always been slightly myopic in my perspectives on who provides primary care services. As I’ve continued my education in this area, I’ve come to learn much more about the role of dental hygienists in particular as primary care providers.