4 Tips for Choosing a Primary Care Physician

For treatment of non-emergency and chronic conditions, your primary care physician is the doctor that you will likely be spending the most time with. For this reason, it is important to be sure you have selected a physician with experience and expertise that you can trust. Here are four tips to help you choose the right primary care physician.

Match Their Specialization to Your Needs

Not all primary care physicians will have the same training and expertise, so your specific needs should be the first factor you consider when you are looking for a doctor. Many doctors classify themselves as family or general practice physicians, while some will specialize in pediatrics or internal medicine.

If you would like for your entire family to see the same primary care physician, general practitioners will often be the best choice. These doctors are trained in a wide variety of fields and can provide proper care for patients of any age. If you have one or more children younger than the age of 14, a pediatrician is often the best choice for their primary care. Doctors who specialized in internal medicine practice only on adults and can provide the best care for conditions of the respiratory system, nerve system, and other internal systems and organs.

Consider Your Insurance Network

Unfortunately, many people do not have free reign when it comes to choosing their primary care physician if they want their doctor visits to remain affordable. Most insurance providers have a network of physicians that they will cover, so you may want to only interview physicians in that network.

When it comes to finding a doctor that is in your network, the best place to start is usually the website of your insurance provider. Many providers' sites will have a doctor locator to help you find an in-network doctor in your area. If this fails, you can call doctors in your area to find out if you will be fully covered, if there will be an out-of-network charge, or if they will not accept your insurance at all.

Research the Physician Online

Doctors who are serious about their practice and getting new patients will almost always have an online presence. Once you have narrowed down your physician choices to a few likely candidates, you should research them online to get an objective view of their history and qualifications.

In addition to finding a doctor's personal website where they have listed their education and certifications, it is a good idea to check if the doctor is board certified. Registration with national associations such as the American Medical Association and the American Board of Medical Specialties is a clear indication that the physician is reputable and provides high-quality care.

Interview Your Candidates

Nothing will give you a better idea of a physician's personality than meeting them in person. If you want to be happy with the doctor who will be providing your long-term care, their personality is just as important as their qualifications. You should try to schedule a short interview with each physician you are considering before you make your final choice.

When you visit your potential physician, it is a good time to talk about any medications that you are currently taking and any chronic conditions that you may have. You should also ask about the doctor's history and qualifications and take note of whether their overall demeanor is agreeable or if they seem rushed or uninterested in your concerns.

Your primary care physician will be one of the most important health care providers that you visit throughout your life. Keep these tips in mind so you can find more success in finding the perfect primary care physician for yourself and your family.