Selecting a primary care physician (PCP) is a pivotal first step toward managing your overall health. When addressing basic health care needs, primary care physicians can be the first point of contact. Access to primary care physicians lowers the risk of dying of cancer, heart disease and stroke, according to the International Journal of Health Services.
A primary care physician is a practitioner who treats patients with common medical conditions. Primary care physicians can be family practitioners, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and internists. Their role is to provide preventative care and annual check-ups, assess the urgency of medical issues and make referrals to medical specialists when necessary. Seeing a PCP allows you to build a trusting, long-term relationship with a dedicated medical professional who understands your medical history, lifestyle and treatment preferences.
Here are five considerations for choosing the right PCP for you:
Ask around. The first step to finding a great doctor is talking to your friends, family or co-workers. Though every person’s medical requirements are different, getting a recommendation from someone you trust can help narrow your choices. You should also consider asking another health care professional with whom you have a relationship, such as your dentist or pharmacist.
Map it out. Look for a PCP’s office that is conveniently located near your home or work. When you’re not feeling well, you’ll appreciate a shorter drive. If your PCP’s office is closer to you, appointments can more easily fit your schedule and you may be more inclined to keep annual physicals on your calendar.
Make sure you have coverage. After you’ve identified possible physicians, confirm they are in-network with your health plan to save on out-of-pocket costs.
Keep your personal needs in mind. As your medical confidant, your PCP should adequately address your unique health needs and be someone you feel comfortable confiding in about medical issues. Consider asking your doctor about his or her specialties or areas of interest and keep in mind your own personal preferences.
Consider scheduling an in-person meeting. While not all doctors are able to accommodate an in-person conversation before making an appointment, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Going to the office and speaking face-to-face with your potential PCP can provide good insight into how the office operates.
For help choosing a primary care physician, call our Tooele Medical Group Find-A-Doc line at435-775-9973 or go online to schedule at www.mountainwestanytime.com.