how to choose a primary care physician?

How To Choose A Primary Care physician?

A person’s primary care physician is a very important professional when it comes to dealing with their health. This calls for the need for the person to take their time to choose for the best and not just picking them from the available lists such as the insurance cover’s lists. It is often a challenge on how to choose a primary care physician especially for a person who moves to a new location. A person can enquire and ultimately choose a physician through seeking recommendations from workmates, neighbors in the new location, or from their friends.

This is the best way available to get to make the best decision as per the individual requirements and circumstances. Sometimes the insurance plans that a person is subscribed to may curb the choices they can make at a given time, since it may only allow choosing physicians who are registered or approved by the insurance plan.

When the primary care physician is not covered by the plan a person needs to inquire about the extra charges they will pay from their own income. This mostly happens when someone changes their jobs and they have to change the health insurance plans they had before.

One is also required to choose what kind of primary care doctor they are looking for. In most insurance covers there is the need to choose a primary care physician who not only manages your general health but is also able to direct you to other health specialists.
For persons suffering from chronic or incapacitating ailments, they will definitely need a primary care physician who is well equipped to deal with such health situations.

What Does A Primary Care Physician Do?

They provide the usual medical care for their patients, they assist in the management of the usually healthy patient’s conditions such as ailments, those affected by injuries, or have long-term medical conditions and which are not so extreme.

The primary care physicians are the first professional’s many patients see to assist them in diagnosing a vast range of ailments or injuries. They also deal with preventative care for those who come to them for such help, for example, carrying the regular body check-ups, examinations as required.

The above are the primary requirements of physical care physicians

Another important role is to refer their patients to specialists for the conditions they suffer from, while at the same time being responsible in the management of the general care of their patients and keeping in contact with the specialist they referred them to as required.
Taking care of the patient is the primary role of the primary care physician in participation with the specialist while the patient is receiving their treatment.

How To Choose A Primary Care Physician

  • A Person Should Consider The Primary Care Physician’s Location-This becomes easy and possible by asking themselves questions such as how far they are located? Can they be accessed easily always? Are they still accessible through public transport means?
    It becomes a big deal to walk for long distances to access the physician when a person is extremely sick and they do not have the energy to even get off the bed and walk all that distance for treatment. Distance or location of the primary care physician is important due to convenience.
  • A Person Should Check How Available The Primary Care Physician Is – The availability, whenever they are needed, creates the much sought after convenience by any patient. For chronic ailments, a person should go for a physician who is able to examine and treat them in less than a day or two days. There is a need to stick to physicians who a person knows well for they will fully understand the situation and avail themselves when they are needed to attend to it.
  • Find A Physician Who Gives You An Appointment As Soon As It Is Required: Since each patient’s time is valuable once they go for an appointment they had set, they should ensure they go only for those physicians who have shown urgency in attending to them to avoid being frustrated from waiting despite arriving for the appointment on time. If the problem of being kept waiting recurs there is a need to look for more reliable physicians.
  • Seek The One Who Knows Your Health Complications Well: Checking for the kind of the physician you need comes into application in here in that, there are different physicians when it comes to family medicine and internal medicine. Their difference in handling the different health complications in their patients comes from the unique set of skills they acquire during training.
    Those for family medicine are equipped to care for patients of all ages and should have expertise in prenatal, obstetric, gynecologic, pediatric, adult, and geriatric care. They also deal with the prevention of ailments. Internal medicine physicians mainly focus on giving care to adults. They mainly deal with specialized cases.
  • Reception By Customer Care – One has to consider if the physician’s customer care staff are friendly and welcoming. Their response is a true representation of the physician’s true character.
  • Emergency Response – If a person is faced by a tricky situation and they get to call for assistance does the physician respond well and as quickly as required?
  • Referral Time Frame – There is the need to focus on knowing whether the chosen primary care physician takes their time to refer to other medical conditions specialists or do they prefer dealing with a large degree of the conditions fully themselves.
  • A Person Should Know Which Hospitals The Physician Operates From: So as to enable them to know whether the hospitals are covered by their insurance cover and if their conditions are provided in these hospitals.
  • Will the normal examinations be done in the physician’s location or they need to be done in another lab which is not within the residence of the physician.
  • A Person Should Ask Themselves Who Stands In For Their Physician: When they are not in the office, or the person they should refer their queries to after the working hours. If the physician has other assistants, are you at ease being attended by the others?
    When it becomes hard to choose using the above criteria, there is a need to make an arrangement with a potential one to air out the specific concerns.

How Many Primary Care Physicians Do We Have?

There are different types of primary care physicians available, among them include:

  • Family Medicine Doctors – They care for all people irrespective of their age. They attend to the needs of a particular family since they are well familiar with it.
  • Pediatricians – They deal with children’s health from the day they are born till they turn 18.
  • Internal Medicine Doctors – They attend to adults, they have responsibilities in the prevention, treatment, and examination of ailments.
  • Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Doctors – They are physicians who have specialized in both internal medicine and pediatrics, hence can attend to adults and kids as well, at the same time being able to prevent, treat and examine ailments.
  • Obstetrics And Gynecology or OB-GYNs – Who specialize in dealing with the reproductive health of the women. They take care of the women during their pregnancies, birth and guiding them through processes like birth control and menopause.

Having looked at all these I believe now one can know how to choose a primary care physician who will not frustrate him or her in the time of need.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad

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