How to Choose a Primary Care Physician

How to Choose a Primary Care Physician: The Process Made Simple

Primary care doctors are the go-to doctors for common health issues. They work with patients to prevent or treat medical conditions and facilitate routine exams. Regularly seeing them is a crucial part of taking care of your well-being. This is also why choosing a primary care physician should not be taken lightly. Whoever you may select will set the direction for your immediate health care in the years to come.

So, what should you look into while comparing one primary care physician to the next? Here are a few important factors that will help make the comparison easier on your part.

 

Find the type of primary care doctor you need

How to choose a primary care physician:
How to choose a primary care physician: Consider which type of doctor you need

You can choose from five different types of primary care doctor, including the following:

Family medicine doctors

These medical professionals are trained to look after your entire family, from the babies to the grandparents. Because of their relationship with their patients, they are expected to know the family’s medical history, helping them give you personalized care. This is the ideal primary care physician for busy households who want access to comprehensive medical care.

Pediatricians

These doctors care for children from the moment they were born right into early adulthood. They can treat your kids’ injuries and illnesses, with some complicated medical problems. Their service might have something in common with family doctors, but they are well-versed with the medical conditions in kids and know how to deal with children gently during checkups.

Internists

These internal medicine doctors cater to adults. They are well-trained in diagnosing and treating health issues affecting adult patients, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Internal medicine-pediatrics doctors

These are doctors who passed the board in pediatrics and internal medicine, allowing them to care for adults and kids.

OB-GYNs

These are the types of doctors who care for women and provide them with health screenings and other services, such as helping with family planning, menopause, and pregnancy.

 

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Choose doctors in your health plan’s network

How to Choose a Primary Care Physician
How to choose a primary care physician: Look for doctors in your network

Look for a primary care physician who is “in-network” with your health insurance plan provider. These doctors have likely negotiated discounted rates with your insurance provider. Check with your insurance provider which hospitals and doctors are in their network if you don’t want to cover your medical expenses fully out of pocket.

 

Talk to family and friends

Discuss with your family or friends what type of primary care physician you need. They might be able to refer you to doctors they like and steer you clear from doctors that are not exactly on their recommended list of physicians. Ask them why they suggested the doctors as a good fit for you.

 

Do your research

Don’t stop with just the referrals from family, friends, or healthcare professionals. Check the background of the doctors on your list. Some patients post doctor reviews online, but make sure to dig deeper if you see bad feedback. There might be other reasons aside from the doctor being deemed ineffective by the patients, hence the negative reviews.

 

Think about location

Should your primary care physician be close to your family home or workplace? Depending on the doctor’s clinic hours and your availability, decide what will be the best answer to this question. If you have more flexible office hours, it might be best to pick a doctor close to your office. If you are based at home, the other option might be more convenient.

Check the doctor out

primary care physician
How to choose a primary care physician: pay the doctor a visit to see if they are right for you

Don’t make your decision just yet. Visit the doctor’s office first and get a feel of their working environment, especially how they treat patients. It’s vital that you feel comfortable with your primary care physician because you will be working closely with them while sharing your medical history. Good doctors will be more than happy to talk to you or even consult with prospective patients on the phone.  

Make sure to observe how the clinic works, too. Consider how the staff entertains patients, answers phone calls, arrange appointments, and how long the waiting time usually is. Remember that you might also be at the receiving end of this kind of treatment if you choose to become the doctor’s patient.

Think about these factors when you select the best primary care physician for you and your loved ones. Your well-being will mainly be in your doctor’s hands, so take your time making this decision. It will affect the way you manage your health, possibly for life.

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