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Why have a family doctor?
By Jessica VanWyk
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Why have a family doctor?

Imagine how nice it would be to have all of your health care needs handled by one provider – a one-stop shop for all of your medical needs. Having a family doctor is one great way to accomplish this.

Family medicine, as defined by the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP), is the medical specialty concerned with the total health care of the individual and family. Regardless of age or sex, family doctors are trained in many areas of medicine including, but not limited to, pediatrics, internal medicine and geriatrics. Doctors in the field complete a three-year specialty residency in family medicine, and IAFP states family doctors have the capability to treat more than 85 percent of all illnesses.

“Family doctors specialize in the broadest range of medicine and can be your first line of defense when something about your health seems amiss,” said Sharon Phillips, vice president of operations with Mercy Clinics.

Here are some great reasons to have a family doctor:

  • A sense of trust. A trusting relationship is formed, making it more comfortable to talk about your care.
  • It’s more personal. A family doctor will get to know you and your family over time, making the relationship more individualized, personal.
  • There’s history. Family doctors will have access to, and know, your medical history.
  • Better quality of life. Research shows people who have an ongoing relationship with a primary care doctor, such as a family doctor, have better overall health outcomes, lower death rates and lower costs of care.

“Having a family doctor is vital to your health. It’s a life-long, trusted relationship in which you can be certain you are getting the best care for you and your family,” Phillips said.

At Mercy, clinics offer a wide range of family medical services including physical examinations, routine health screenings, immunizations and treatment of occasional and on-going illnesses. The professionals at Mercy Clinics manage patient care on a personal level and make recommendations when specialty medical services are needed.

So, how do you go about finding a provider who is a good fit for you? Ask around, do your research and, most important, think about what matters most to you, such as:

  • Are you more comfortable with a male or female provider?
  • Do you want someone located close to your home or workplace?
  • What health insurance is accepted?


Learn more.

Talk with your health care provider about what screenings might benefit you at your particular age and for your individual risk factors. If you need a healthcare provider, visit and look through the “find a clinic” tab on the top right of the page.

Mercy Family medicine Clinics

  • Family Medicine Adel
    1120 Greene St.
    Adel, IA 50003
    (515) 993-4532
  • Family Medicine Ankeny Briarwood
    120 N.W. 36th St.
    Ankeny, IA 50023
    (515) 358-7550
  • Family Medicine Ankeny Prairie Trail
    2605 S.W. White Birch Dr.
    Ankeny, IA 50023
    (515) 643-7100
  • Family Medicine Ankeny North
    800 E. 1st St., Ste. 1700
    Ankeny, IA 50021
    (515) 643-8100
  • Family Medicine Beaverdale
    1750 48th St., Ste. 1
    Des Moines, IA 50310
    (515) 271-6175
  • Family Medicine Carlisle
    2755 South Gateway Dr.
    Carlisle, IA 50047
    (515) 989-4518
  • Family Medicine East
    5900 E. University Ave., Ste. 100
    Pleasant Hill, IA 50327
    (515) 643-2400
  • Family Medicine East Village
    1350 Des Moines St.
    Ste. 110
    Des Moines, IA 50309
    (515) 643-0833
  • Family Medicine Indianola
    307 E. Scenic Valley Ave.
    Indianola, IA 50125
    (515) 961-8448
  • Family Medicine Johnston
    5615 N.W. 86th St.
    Johnston, IA 50131
    (515) 643-6000
  • Family Medicine Ottumwa
    1005 Pennsylvania Ave.
    Ottumwa, IA 52501
    (641) 682-4594
  • Family Medicine Panora
    319 E. Main St.
    Panora, IA 50216
    (641) 755-2121
  • Mercy Family Care Perry
    616 10th St.
    Perry, IA 50220
    (515) 465-3553
  • Family Medicine South
    6601 S.W. 9th St.
    Des Moines, IA 50315
    (515) 643-9400
  • Family Medicine Urbandale
    6200 Aurora Ave.
    Urbandale, IA 50322
    (515) 270-1177
  • Family Medicine Waukee
    25 W. Hickman Rd.
    Waukee, IA 50263
    (515) 643-7000
  • Family Medicine West
    1601 N.W. 114th St. , Ste. 245, 247
    Clive, IA 50325
    (515) 222-7000
  • Family Medicine West Grand
    119 19th St., Ste. 106
    West Des Moines, IA 50265
    (515) 226-011


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