Not only is it good policy to call your primary care doctor to help determine whether your circumstance does, in fact, need urgent or emergency care, it's also helpful to reach out on your way to the ER because your PCP may be able to make the experience a little smoother. For instance, your doctor may advise you to go to an alternate facility more experienced or equipped to treat your condition. Or, in some cases, your doctor may want to treat you. Additionally, a PCP may call the hospital before your arrival to give the emergency medical team a heads up on your condition.
Your primary care doctor is also important once you're discharged from the ER. More than 60 percent of patients are referred to their PCP or another health care specialist for follow-up diagnosis and care, in addition to any long-term care after emergency treatment if it's required [source: Marte].