As a healthcare consumer, you need to choose a primary care provider you can trust. Choosing a doctor is an important decision because you will visit this individual for most of your medical needs. Essentially, your healthcare provider should feel like a real partner, one who is easily accessible, communicates effectively, and is capable of handling your medical needs. When you trust your doctor, you will be free to discuss your medical concerns, discuss treatment options, and comply with the physician’s recommendations.
WHAT DOES A PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN DO?
Primary care covers a broad range of patient health concerns. A healthcare provider, also commonly known as a general practitioner, is the first medical practitioner typically contacted by a patient. They are trained and skilled in comprehensive first contact and continuing care. The doctor collaborates with other healthcare professionals, making them an important link between patients and various specialists. They are also the first point of entry into the world of healthcare, a factor that allows them to develop long-term relationships with patients.
Considering the numerous conditions that fall under primary care, these physicians are specialists in either family medicine, internal medicine, or pediatrics. Their scope of practice and skills includes basic diagnoses and treatment of common conditions. These doctors typically interview patients to assess symptoms, go through past medical history, and conduct physical examinations. The medical professionals may recommend further medical testing, such as X-rays and blood work depending on circumstances.
Primary care services may include the handling of chronic illnesses in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Since the physicians work closely with patients, they also play an important part in health promotion, health maintenance, disease prevention, patient education, and counseling.
These doctors do not limit their care to health concerns affecting specific organ systems, meaning that they handle almost every health issue under the sun. However, for complex evaluations, diagnoses, and treatment, a physician will refer you to a specialist.
One of the main goals of a primary care physician is differential diagnosis. Differential diagnosis helps to distinguish conditions from diseases that present similar symptoms.
HOW TO CHOOSE A PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN
Considering the important role a healthcare provider plays in helping you get good healthcare, you should choose your doctor carefully. Here are some of the factors you may want to take into account.
When looking for a provider you can trust, you should not underestimate convenience. Driving can feel overwhelming when you are really sick, making it important to find a practice within your area. You will not want to travel far if you need to schedule several visits in a year or when you really need a doctor.
Check Your Insurance
You should start by looking up the doctors in your health network. Because doctors add and drop plans from time to time, you can contact their office to confirm if they accept your insurance. Choosing an in-network provider will be significant when it comes to planning your treatment and paying your medical bills.
Check the Type of Doctor
Your needs will determine the type of doctor you choose, based on their unique skill sets. For example, if you are seeking a medical expert for your entire family, a family doctor may be your preference. Be sure to look for board certification at this stage.
Check Their Availability
Make sure the office is relatively accessible for both routine and urgent appointments. It’s important that the provider can also provide enough time during your appointment to discuss your medical needs
Consider personality and relationship when choosing a provider. A good doctor will listen to you attentively, answer questions fully, explain the diagnosis and treatment, and schedule follow-up visits. Compatibility will be critical in ensuring you develop trust in them.
Factor in Technology
Doctors who maintain electronic records will have an easy time tracking your medical history, sharing information with specialists, and monitoring patients’ drugs. With technology, patients can access their health information, book doctor appointments, and get lab results conveniently.