When it comes to one’s overall health, one of the most important aspects of caring for yourself is teaming up with a primary care physician. The overall purpose of a PCP is to help provide you with necessary tools and resources to keep you in the best health possible. While you can definitely take your health into your own hands as much as possible, by eating right, exercising well and developing an overall healthy lifestyle, the reality is that sometimes illnesses and sickness can develop even despite our best efforts. Sometimes we are born with a certain disease or illness that was out of our control; the point is that with a quality primary care provider, you will have someone on your side who can help pinpoint problems and provide you with answers when you need them.
So we know that a primary care provider is important, but what exactly should you be looking for when you need to choose one? Sometimes we get lucky and grow up with a PCP since they’ve always been in the family, but not everyone has that luxury. So let’s take a few ideas into consideration in order to find the best choice for you.
The location of your primary care provider should be fairly important, especially if you require a sick visit, or go often for other medical needs. Some will not have a choice based on their location, but it would be reasonable to search for a PCP within a 15 to 25-minute drive. The closer you are, the less likely you will be to cancel appointments, you will be more determined to visit your physician and play an active role in making your health a priority.
Building a Relationship
Sometimes we reach out to a particular PCP and after a few visits, realize that the dynamic just isn’t clicking. Perhaps you are more worried about a physical issue, but the physician continually dismisses it. Maybe you choose a PCP based on a recommendation but you visit and they are always running extremely late when you make sure to show up to your appointment early or on time. If a practice is lacking in resources and can’t meet the needs of its patients, you will likely have a difficult time obtaining a high level of personal care. You want to build a relationship with a physician who can put your health on a pedestal, so to speak, and go above and beyond to provide you with a close connection. Feeling comfortable enough to open up to your doctor can make all the difference in getting the healthcare that you deserve.
Do They Take Your Insurance?
Not every PCP may take your medical insurance provider. This may seem surprising, but not everyone thinks about the logistics when trying to choose who they want their primary care practice to be. Make sure to check ahead of time, especially if you are actively seeking a new PCP, in order to determine whether they will accept your medical coverage and will be in your network.
Consider a Referral
Many times, we may be completely unaware of an excellent PCP near us, or may not even know where to start looking for one. In this instance, you should consider reaching out to individuals for referrals of PCP’s that they know and trust. Your friend or family member may know of a quality physician or provider in the immediate area. Sometimes your healthcare provider will provide a list of PCP’s within their network that you can choose from as well. Also, your current physician may be kind enough to make a referral that would meet your particular needs as well. It never hurts to ask, and could be the key to developing the best relationship you’ve ever had with a medical provider.
Altogether, take some time to evaluate your particular options, and make a determination based on concepts such as their distance, whether they would be covered by your network, as well as how a physician interacts with you on a personal level.