Finding a good general physician or primary care provider can feel a little bit like dating. You find it awkward. And you expect the best. Even though you know it’s rough out there, you still hope to find the one.
A general physician is more than just a doctor. Over time, they learn the nuances of your medical history, your reaction to medications, your health goals, your lifestyle, your treatment preferences, and whether or not a caregiver is supporting you in managing your health.
That’ is the reason why it’s so important to find a doctor you can trust — someone you can talk to honestly and openly about your health.
10 Tips for Finding a General Physician
Following are a few important questions to keep in mind to help find the primary care physician that’s right for you.
1- Shop Around
The directory of in-network doctors provided by your health insurance is a smart location to start your search for a general practitioner. You may phone around to other offices and schedule exploratory visits with various physicians to understand which ones you like. Such doctor shopping is popular among pregnant parents who meet with many physicians — and it’s perfectly acceptable for adults as well!
2- Get your Family and Friends Recommendations
The practice of asking for referrals from people you trust is one way to find a general practitioner you like. Your family, friends, and coworkers can provide you with valuable information about physicians you trust.
You can also get suggestions from allied health experts. Pharmacists, optometrists, dentists, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals may be able to provide you with useful information on the physicians you’re evaluating.
3- Map it Out
Since primary care is the conduit for everyday health needs, your primary care doctor must be accessible somewhere convenient to you. You won’t bother to travel very far when you’re not feeling good. And if your doctor’s office is conveniently located, you’ll hopefully be more inclined to keep appointments for physicals and other preventive care when you’re healthy.
4- Speaking of Access
Essential treatments such as lab testing, x-rays, and small surgeries should all be conducted at the same facility as the doctor’s office.
Many general practitioners can do these procedures in their offices. But you’ll need to find out if those facilities are easy to access.
5- Look for Board Certification
A certified doctor has earned a medical degree from a qualified medical school, completed three to seven years of accredited residency training, is licensed by a state medical board.
6- Visit the Doctor
Nothing matches an office visit and a face-to-face meeting for deciding whether you’ve chosen the medical specialist. Make sure you’re at ease at the office and with the doctor and nurses.
7- Can you Communicate Easily with this Doctor
The most obvious factor to consider is whether or not the doctor speaks your native language. Can you comprehend each other if your first language and your doctor’s first language aren’t the same?
8- Examine the Staff
They are the ones who will arrange your appointments, check you in and out, deliver your messages to the doctor, and handle any insurance issues. Look for a friendly, efficient, and courteous workforce.
9- Can this Provider Meet your Special Needs?
Assess if the doctor and the office can accommodate your limitations or any other special requirements as you consider what you need from your general practitioner.
10- How is the Physical Environment of the Practice like?
Take a look around the office when you come in. Is the waiting room tidy, well-kept, and peaceful? Is the medical equipment up to date and in good functioning order? Is it clean and private in the treatment rooms?
When you meet your new potential general physician doctors, do not hesitate to tell them what wasn’t working with your old one — it will help make sure you start on the right foot.
It may be frustrating to start your search again, but it’s worth it to find a doctor who gets you. Your health depends on it.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
1- Who is a primary care physician for adults?
Internal medicine (internists) or family medicine practitioners are the most common. A yearly exam might help your doctor in detecting health concerns early enough. Ignoring diseases like high blood pressure can progress to more significant complications that are more difficult to cure.
2- What makes a good primary care doctor?
Approachable, confident, decisive, intelligent, interested, compassionate, and caring – being able to absorb people’s pain and anxieties without losing focus, treating patients as human beings rather than a symptom or collection of symptoms. Their integrity is without question.
3- What does a primary care doctor do?
Routine physicals, vaccines, preventative care, and wellness screenings are among the services they provide to help you manage your health. They can also diagnose and treat common diseases and chronic problems like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension (high blood pressure).