A primary care physician is a doctor who helps patients when they have acute illnesses, monitors their overall health, manages chronic conditions, and assists patients with making lifestyle changes that can prevent future health conditions from developing. It is in everyone's best interest to have a primary care physician. A good primary care physician will have information about your health over the years and you will have the opportunity to build a relationship with a doctor who you can trust. Some health insurance plans also require people to have a primary care physician, and most HMO health insurance plans require a primary care physician to make referrals. Use the following tips to choose a primary care physician.
Consult Your Health Insurance Company
The first thing that you need to do when selecting a primary care physician is to consult your health insurance company. One of the keys to choosing a primary care physician is finding one that is contracted with the health insurance company and that is considered in-network. Most health insurance companies allow you to look for in-network providers on their websites. When looking at your options, try to find medical practices that are either close to your home or close to your place of work. It is much easier to get to appointments with your primary care physician when you don't have to travel too far.
Check Out the Reviews
The internet has made selecting a primary care physician easier than ever. In this day and age, there are numerous websites that are dedicated to reviews of physicians posted by past or current patients. These reviews can be very insightful and can tell you a lot about how other patients perceive a doctor's bedside manner, how easy it is to schedule appointments, especially last-minute sick appointments, and how long you can expect to wait in the waiting room before seeing the doctor. If a primary care physician has numerous positive reviews, there is a good chance that he or she is a great doctor and can be a very good choice to be your primary care physician.
Schedule an Initial Appointment
Scheduling an initial appointment will give you the chance to meet the doctor that you're interested in having as your primary care physician and allow you to ask questions. You may want to ask why the doctor chose primary care and what his or her views are on medical care. In addition to getting to meet with your potential primary care physician, this type of appointment is also a good opportunity for an annual physical to ensure that you are in good health.
For more information on primary care physicians, contact a medical center near you.