Choosing a primary care physician is a big decision. After all, your primary care physician is the doctor you’ll see for nearly all your medical needs, aside from emergency-room visits. So, it’s important to choose someone who’s a good fit.
New patients often make the mistake of choosing a primary care physician somewhat randomly, based on which offices accept their medical insurance. While that it is an important consideration, there are other things to take into account as well.
Don’t worry. Choosing a doctor doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are some tips to help you choose a primary care physician that’s right for you and your family.
1) Look for the care you need
Any primary care doctor can perform routine exams. But if you have special medical needs or existing conditions, then you’ll want to find a physician who has the expertise you need.
Some medical providers may list their specializations and expertise on their website. But if not, it never hurts to call and ask.
2) Confirm the type of practice
Are you looking for a doctor who can see everyone in your family? If so, you’ll want to confirm that the office is a “family practice” or “general practice.” Expecting a baby? Find out if they have a pediatrician on staff.
Do you have chronic conditions, or a medical problem that needs a specialized diagnosis? Look for doctors specializing in “internal medicine.”
3) Rely on referrals and reviews
As you narrow your choices, ask others who their doctors are and why they like them. Family, friends and coworkers are sometimes the best resource for finding a doctor you can feel comfortable with.
In addition to personal referrals, another good resource is online reviews on sites like Google, Healthgrades and Vitals . Online reviews don’t always tell the “whole story,” but they can provide some insight into others’ experiences with the practice.
4) Check with your insurance company
Unless you prefer to pay out of pocket, you’ll want to make sure that the doctor’s office accepts your insurance. Check with your insurance company to confirm if the office is “in network.”
Additionally, confirm the cost of copays for annual visits, prescriptions and other needs. These costs can vary by provider.
5) Ask about affiliations with hospitals and specialists
Some primary care offices will be affiliated with a local hospital, as well as specialists. You’ll want to be sure that those facilities meet your preferences and are conveniently located.
For example, if the doctor is connected with a hospital that’s 45 minutes from your home, instead of the one that’s across town, then that may influence your decision.
6) Request a consultation
Sometimes, the best way to get to know a primary care physician is to meet with them in person.
Many doctors’ offices offer initial consultations and introductory visits with the physician. This gives you the opportunity to speak with the physician and ask questions. It also presents a good opportunity to evaluate other aspects of the office, such as:
- Ease of making appointments
- Scheduling or waiting-room delays
- Friendliness of receptionists, nurses and staff
- Cleanliness of the facility
Based in Lanham, MD, Maryland Primary Care provides both primary care and urgent care services to cover a wide range of medical needs. We also provide patients with a free app that analyzes cardiovascular risk and creates a personalized plan of activities and diet for a healthier lifestyle.
Make an appointment today by calling 301-277-3555 – we look forward to speaking with you!