5 Tips for Choosing a Primary Care Doctor
A primary care physician is an essential component of your health. Ideally, you want to establish a long-standing relationship with your primary care provider. Thus, choosing a primary care provider is important because you want to stick with your primary care provider for years. How do you decide on the right primary care provider for you? Here are 5 tips for choosing a primary care provider.
A good first step is asking around your community for recommendations for primary care providers they would recommend. Ask your family and friends if they have a provider that they have had a great experience with. However, it is important to note that everyone has different health needs. Thus, a provider that worked great for your friend or family member may not be the best one for your health needs.
Once you have written down a few possibilities, check to see if those providers are in-network with your medical insurance coverage. You can do this by calling the provider’s office. Usually, they are able to tell you a list of medical insurance companies they accept. Depending on the insurance company, you can also search your in-network providers on your insurance plan’s website or member portal. You can also call your insurance provider to see if the doctor’s office is in-network.
Calling a primary care provider’s office is another good way to vet an office. You can tell a lot about a doctor’s office by the staff. When you’re on the phone, measure how they speak to you and how they answer questions. Here are a few questions you can ask: “Are you taking new patients at this time? I’m looking for a primary care provider,” Or, “Are you able to tell me the insurance companies you accept? I’m looking for a primary care provider and want to see if this is a good fit.” How they respond can indicate a lot about the office. If they are quick to dismiss you, aren’t friendly, and don’t answer your questions efficiently, you may want to evaluate if that office is right for you.
By now, you should have a list of in-network doctors to sort through. The next tip is to narrow down your list by seeing if the provider’s specialty and areas of expertise align with your health needs. For example, if you have diabetes or hypertension, confirm if the provider has experience treating those conditions. Another aspect to research is other patient experiences with the provider. Look up ratings and reviews; however, discern the ones you consider are legitimate.
5. Trust Yourself
Research shows that the communication of skills of physicians is directly linked to patient satisfaction and is a major component in establishing an effective physician-patient relationship. After you have chosen a primary care provider and have had your first visit with your potential new primary care provider, ask yourself some questions. Ask yourself if you felt heard, if you felt comfortable asking this provider questions about your health, and if the provider explained things about your health in a way that made sense. Trust yourself and your instincts. You will know if this is the right physician for you.
Finding a primary care provider doesn’t have to be stressful. In the end, you are finding a primary care provider that will have your back throughout your health journey for years. Finding a primary care provider is the first step to building a healthy future and ensuring you will receive quality, personalized care throughout your life. In fact, at Healthy Heart Clinics, we have a staff of competent and compassionate providers who deliver high-quality, personalized care for everyone. If you are searching for a primary care provider, make an appointment at a location near you!
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Written by the Healthy Heart Clinics’ editorial staff and reviewed by medical experts and advisors. These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about their individual health should consult their physician.
Written by Saragrace Keelin
Medically reviewed by Dr. Robert Tassin