In a world of managed health care, with multiple doctors to choose from within a given system, many patients are simply taking an appointment with whatever doctor is available first, rather than waiting to see the same primary care physician. The truth is, however, you may be short-changing your own health by doing this, not to mention potentially subjecting yourself to unnecessary testing. Here are 3 reasons why doctors are more effective at treating tenured patients than new patients.

Records Aren’t Always Accurate

Your medical charts and records are generally compiled by hundreds of different techs, nurses, doctors, and staff. While digital records and billing, in particular, are making medical records more comprehensive than ever, occasionally things still don’t get recorded. When you have one physician that orders all of your tests and prescribes all of your medications (or at least the majority of them) their own memory can sometimes offer powerful prevention against drug interactions or even multiple tests being duplicated for the same problem or condition.

A Trusting Relationship

Doctors are trained to rule out the most obvious causes of certain symptoms first, before moving on to more unlikely causes. A female patient may not have a regular menstruation cycle, which their long-term doctor would know about. If she was exhibiting some classic symptoms of pregnancy but assured her doctor she had not been sexually active in some time, he might be more inclined to simply skip the pregnancy test and explore other possibilities. A doctor that doesn’t know the patient, however, is more likely to order the test anyway, because it is simply what they have been trained to do.

Noticing Small Changes

Some of the most major health crises can start by exhibiting the tiniest or most minute symptoms. A doctor that knows you well is far more likely to notice these symptoms early on when they are barely noticeable than later when they become painfully obvious. Some conditions can’t be cured, but they can be held at bay almost indefinitely if addressed early enough. Osteoporosis, for instance, can be crippling. If a doctor notices the symptoms early enough, however, the worst effects can sometimes be staved off for a decade or longer with appropriate osteoporosis treatments.

While there are major similarities between all humans, no two bodies are exactly alike, nor do they necessarily operate exactly the same either. The more a doctor knows what is specifically normal to you, the more quickly and effectively they can address any abnormalities in your specific and individual health.