Whether you’re young, old, sick or healthy, you can benefit from having a primary care physician. Think of him or her as your main partner for attaining better health. When you’re sick, your doctor can help you understand what’s going on and find the best treatment for your condition. When you’re healthy, he or she can help you stay up to date on screenings and immunizations.
There are a few types of primary care physicians:
- Pediatricians mainly care for children from birth until they reach adulthood.
- Family medicine physicians see everyone from newborn babies to older adults. Sometimes they even work with hospice patients.
- Internal medicine physicians care for adults and usually specialize in managing specific diseases or chronic conditions.
After you’ve picked the right type of primary care physician, you’ll need to consider a few other factors:
- Rapport – You need to feel comfortable with the doctor you select. He or she should be someone you can approach with any concerns or questions. If you don’t trust your doctor, you might skip important facts that may affect your treatment and outcome. Your doctor should listen to you and be able to explain things in a way you understand.
- Insurance –Call your insurance company to see which health systems or providers are in network. You can also call a prospective clinic to see if they accept your insurance.
- Location – Find a clinic and doctor that’s easy for you to get to during the day. If you live in different locations during the year, consider having a primary care physician in both locations. Just make sure the two doctors know to communicate with each other.
- Convenient Hours – Find a doctor that offers appointments when you can get to the clinic. For example, some clinics offer lunch-hour appointments, early or late appointments, or weekend hours. It’s also a good idea to see if the clinic offers same-day appointments for times when you need to see your doctor right away.