A primary care doctor (PCD) is more than just a medical professional. Over time, he or she gains an understanding of your medical history specifics, reply to drugs, health plans, habits, and treatment preferences, as well as whether a caregiver is assisting you in managing your health. Finding a new doctor can be difficult, especially if you just moved to a new area. It's a good idea to start by asking friends, neighbors, and coworkers for recommendations, but ultimately it's up to you to choose the doctor who will best serve your needs.
Always read the terms and conditions of your insurance policy to see if visits to the doctors you are considering are covered. Here are some steps you can take to discover which physician and primary care practice is best for you.
1. Map it out
Consider the logistics. It makes sense to locate a doctor who has office hours that accommodate your schedule and is close to where you live or work. When you're healthy, you might be more likely to keep appointments for preventative care if your doctor's office is close by. You'll also want to see if the hospital the doctor admits patients to is a good fit for you by checking in there. When you're looking around, make sure to find out whether the doctor offers an online patient portal if that's something you need.
2. Ask for recommendations
Asking your relatives and friends (coworkers) about their doctors is an important step in selecting an excellent doctor. A trusted source's referral is a reliable method to figure out a qualified, helpful doctor. But keep in mind that every individual is unique. A doctor may have been ideal for your neighbor or best friend, but it doesn't necessarily indicate they are the best fit for you. Additionally, you can check your potential doctor`s online reviews. It helps to be more objective.
3. Information about your PCD
You may look up your doctor's board certification on the Certification Matters website, which is run by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Primary care physicians who are board certified have not only maintained their states' license standards but have successfully completed extensive internal medicine examinations. To maintain their accreditation, doctors must also stay current on changes in their disciplines. Also, if it matters, consider your health provider`s gender or the language your specialist may speak to you. Find a doctor who not only knows your language but is understanding of your cultural, religious, or other personal convictions because every ethnic group has its own conventions, ideas, and taboos around medical care. For instance, make sure your doctor understands LGBTQ health issues and is attentive to your concerns if you belong to the LGBTQ community. It is crucial that your doctor respects your beliefs and customs and is sensitive to cultural differences.
The bottom line
Your primary care physician will assist in problem-solving and serve as a vital representative for your health. It is important to be sure of the person and be at ease asking things. Following your initial visit, the American Academy of Family Physicians advises that you reflect on the following issues:
- Are you at ease around this doctor?
- Was there enough time for you to ask questions?
- Did he or she respond to all of your questions?
- Did he or she give the information in a way you could understand?
Whenever something looks odd, go with your gut and find a new physician. Again, your primary care physician should make you feel at ease. Keep in mind that picking a primary care doctor is a personal decision as you consider your options.