How to Choose a Primary Care Physician

Building a relationship with a primary care physician is one of the best things you can do to take control of your health and wellness. Whether you have ongoing health concerns or only occasionally visit a doctor, your physician has a better background to provide personalized services based on your medical history.

What is a Primary Care Physician (PCP)?

A primary care physician is home-based for all of your medical care. This is the doctor that you will visit most often when you need a checkup or general medical care, including routine screenings and general checkups.

Additionally, your primary care physician is the provider you call for any non-emergency medical conditions, such as a sore throat, earache, or the common cold.

Even though your primary doctor can address most of your general healthcare concerns, there are times when it makes sense for you to visit a specialist. Your PCP will let you know when it’s time to see a specialist for a specific healthcare concern. Often, the referral to a local specialist comes from a primary care provider.

How Long Will You Stay with a Primary Care Physician?

Most patients like to develop long-term relationships with their PCPs, although this line of care can change depending on the circumstances. For example, your family might have had a primary care physician for decades. Or, you might find it necessary to choose a new primary care provider because you moved to a new area or have a new insurance plan.

Additionally, it’s essential to make sure you have a good personality fit with the doctor you have been working with through the years. You need to find a physician that you can trust, which will put your mind at ease when you need medical support.

Regardless of the length of time that you spend with a primary care provider, the quality of this relationship matters. You need a doctor who helps you feel comfortable having private conversations about sensitive topics. Make sure you can have honest and open discussions about all of the symptoms you are experiencing.

What Type of Doctor Should Be Your Primary?

How do I find the right doctor for me? First of all, make sure that your primary care physician is in-network for your insurance plan. While you have the option to visit an out-of-network provider, the out-of-pocket costs are much higher.

Next, consider the expertise that meets your specific health needs. Primary care physicians can have different focuses, such as:

  • Family Practice: Doctors who treat patients of all ages, giving the family one convenient location to visit for all of their healthcare needs. These generalists offer services from common ailments – everything from women’s health to common illnesses.
  • Pediatrician: Doctors who focus on services for children are known as pediatricians. Usually, these services are available for children ranging from infants to 18 years of age.
  • General Practice: Similar to family practice providers, general physicians treat people of all ages and genders. You might find alternative specialists in this category, such as osteopaths or functional medicine providers.
  • Internal Medicine: Most of the time, internal medicine specialists offer services for adults specifically. They specialize in diagnosis and treatments for a variety of chronic conditions.

Each patient is unique, which is why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when choosing a primary care physician. The best thing you can do is consider your unique healthcare goals and individual needs. Then, find a provider who aligns with these details.

What Qualities Do You Look for in a Primary Care Physician?

Personality matters because the physician’s bedside manner will impact how comfortable you are when talking to the doctor. Look for these types of traits:

  • Location: Finding a provider that is close to home is essential for your convenience. The location makes it easy to visit the doctor whenever you need services.
  • Availability: How easy is it to schedule an appointment when you need to see the doctor? Find a primary care physician who cares about their patients and dedicates a sufficient amount of time to discuss symptoms and partner together to find solutions.
  • Trust: Do you feel like the doctor listens to you and understands what you are saying? Having a two-way conversation is an essential factor that affects the overall relationship.
  • Personality: Most patients feel more comfortable when working with a doctor who is professional, respectful, warm, and accommodating.
  • Experience: Having years of experience in the medical field means that your doctor is bringing a wide range of expertise to address any medical concerns that might come up. Also, find out if your primary care physician is board-certified.

What Questions Should I Ask a New Primary Care Physician?

Asking quality questions can help you choose the right primary care physician. Here are a few of the most important questions you should be asking when interviewing doctors:

  • Are you accepting new patients right now?
  • Is your office in-network with my insurance provider?
  • Do you accept Medicare?
  • Can I get lab work and testing done in-office?
  • What is the appointment cancellation policy?
  • Are virtual appointments available?
  • What do you recommend for general wellness and checkups?
  • Do you have any lifestyle tips for disease prevention?
  • How often should I schedule appointments?
  • I’m concerned about “X.” What should I do to protect my health?
  • Does the doctor speak my language?
  • Where is the office located?
  • Is the building accessible with ramps and an elevator for a walker or wheelchair?
  • What are the doctor’s office hours?
  • Does the doctor answer questions between appointments via phone or email?
  • How far in advance do I need to schedule an appointment?
  • Are services available for urgent care or emergencies?

Tips for Choosing a Primary Care Physician

There are several approaches you can follow when it’s time to find a primary care physician:

  • Check with your insurance provider: Most insurance plans will offer a list of in-network providers.
  • Ask for referrals: Talk to your neighbors, friends, family, and community to find a referral from someone you trust.
  • Look at reviews: When you are considering a specific primary care provider, read online reviews to see feedback from other patients.
  • Request a referral: If you are moving to a new area or you need a PCP with a particular specialty, then talk to your current doctor for a referral.

A Primary Care Provider You Can Trust

Our team at Colorado Primary Health Care is committed to patient satisfaction. We offer a clean and safe environment where you can access a full range of medical services. If you are searching for a primary care provider, we invite you to schedule a consultation to learn more about our office.

The simplest way to get started is by using our online form for an appointment request. Or, you can call any time to talk to someone in our office: (303) 703-8583.

 

 

 

 

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Littleton, CO 80120

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