Choosing the right primary care physician could be one of the most important health decisions you will make. Your primary care physician plays a major role in managing your healthcare. Your primary care physician’s office will act as a sort of healthcare hub; the place where you go for your basic medical needs. Your doctor will be your first contact for any medical questions or concerns. On certain health insurance plans, your primary care physician will also refer you to specialist when the need arises.
Consider your choice of a primary care physician carefully, as a good doctor is one you will want to maintain a relationship with for a long time, maybe even for life. Find someone that you trust and are comfortable discussing personal health matters with. If possible, you want to find a doctor who has some specialization in areas that are specific to your particular needs or health issues.
The Main Types of Primary Care Physicians
Primary care physicians can generally be classified into three different types:
- Family Practice – These physicians can care for patients of all ages, from babies to the elderly. Their training and expertise is broad, allowing them to diagnose and treat a variety of ailments and conditions. As the name implies, a family practice physician is a good choice if you want one doctor to care for your entire family.
- Internal Medicine – An internal medicine doctor usually treats adults and specializes in the prevention, treatment and management of diseases and chronic conditions. This type of doctor is a good choice for adults who have an ailment or condition that needs more specialized care. They are a little more general in their training and expertise than a specialist.
- Pediatrician – These doctors are primary care physicians for children. A pediatrician is an expert in the healthcare of children and adolescents and can care for patients from birth until, usually, eighteen years of age.
Other Things to Think About
An excellent source to find a potential primary care physician are referrals from friends, family and coworkers. Also ask other healthcare professionals for recommendations. If you are moving, ask your current doctor for advice.
Visiting a doctor’s office can give you a good sense of whether a physician and their practice are right for you. Ask for a meeting with the physician to get a sense of their approach and what your relationship with them may be like. Observe the operations of the office to determine if the staff is friendly and efficient. Also consider the logistics. Is the office in a convenient location, close to your home or work? Will the office hours allow you to schedule appointments before or after work? Does the doctor and staff speak your native language, if it is not English? These factors could be just as important as your personal impressions about the physician.
If you are currently looking for a new primary care physician, we extend an invitation to visit Abella Health. We believe you will appreciate our approach to healthcare and the friendliness and efficiency of our staff. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation.