There are several things to consider when searching for a new primary care physician. Whether you’re switching doctors, moving or starting a new job with different health insurance, you need to be sure you choose the right doctor for your needs.

There are several things to consider when searching for a new primary care physician. Whether you’re switching doctors, moving or starting a new job with different health insurance, you need to be sure you choose the right doctor for your needs.

While the process of searching for a new medical office can seem overwhelming at first, you can quickly narrow your options by considering the following questions.

1) Do they take your health insurance?

Your health insurance will largely determine which primary care physicians you choose in your area. These doctors’ offices are often referred to as “in network,” which means the insurance company offers the greatest medical coverage when you visit those providers.

Receiving services from “out of network” providers or any doctors that are not covered by your insurance could significantly increase your out-of-pocket expenses.

If you have Medicare or Medicaid, you’ll want to be sure your preferred doctor’s office accepts these before you make an appointment.

2) Can your whole family receive care?

Do you need a primary care physician only for yourself or for your whole family?

Family doctors will have pediatricians who specialize in healthcare for children. But not all primary care physicians have pediatricians on staff, this is an important question to ask as you’re comparing providers.

3) How close are they to your home or work?

This question is more important than you might realize. New patients often choose the nearest provider to their homes, but this isn’t always convenient for every situation. For example, if you travel 30 minutes to work every day, and your doctors’ appointments are scheduled during the day, then it may make more sense to choose a provider that’s closer to your work – to minimize the travel time and impact on your workday.

Conversely, some families may prefer their doctor to be close to home, especially for situations in which children are home sick and need to visit their doctor (in which case you may not want to drive 30 minutes to the provider’s office).

4) Is the doctor the right fit for you?

The National Institute of Health recommends that patients consider several important questions when determining if a doctor is a good match for your needs:

  • Do you have preferences for the doctor’s sex, age or religion?
  • Will you prefer to have someone in the office who speaks your language?
  • Is the physician board-certified? If so, in what field? What is their area of expertise?

5) What about when you need urgent care?

Can you visit the same doctor’s office when you have more pressing medical issues? Are walk-in services or urgent care available without making an appointment?

What about when you need to go to the hospital? Is the office affiliated with a local hospital, and if so, do you have any preference for which one?

Have more questions about choosing a primary care physician?

At Maryland Primary Care, we know that choosing a new doctor is a big decision. We are happy to answer any questions you have as you evaluate your options.

Call us at 301-277-3555 for more information or to make an appointment.

Does the physician have experience managing certain medical conditions?

To determine if a physician has experience managing certain medical conditions, it is advisable to inquire about their familiarity with specific health conditions. Knowing whether the physician has dealt with conditions like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or any other genetically linked ailments can be valuable in assessing their expertise.

While doctors typically possess the necessary knowledge to handle various serious health issues due to their extensive education and training, some may have specialized experience or a particular interest in certain medical conditions. Having a physician with an elevated level of expertise in managing specific health conditions can be instrumental in providing optimal care for those particular ailments.

What experience does the physician have with patients at a specific stage of life?

When considering a physician, it is crucial to assess their experience with patients at your particular stage of life. This applies whether you are seeking a family physician, internal medicine physician, medical doctor, or doctor of osteopathy. Instead of focusing solely on the age of the physician, it is more relevant to inquire about their familiarity with individuals in your age group. While an older physician might possess extensive experience, it’s important to consider that they may retire sooner, necessitating a transition to a new physician. On the other hand, younger physicians can also possess ample expertise in caring for patients in your age bracket. Therefore, they may be an excellent choice for establishing a long-term patient-physician relationship tailored to your specific stage of life.

What is the physician’s communication style?

The physician’s communication style can be described as crucial in establishing and nurturing the physician-patient relationship. Their approach to communication holds significant importance, as it directly impacts the dynamics between them and their patients.

What is the physician’s philosophy of care?

The physician’s philosophy of care revolves around fostering a patient-centered partnership. They believe in understanding the patient’s needs, goals, and motivations to collaboratively devise a plan for achieving optimal health outcomes. Rather than imposing their own decisions, the physician aims to empower the patient by actively listening and considering their perspective. With their years of experience and extensive training, the physician combines their expertise with the patient’s unique situation to provide personalized care. This patient-focused approach, which emphasizes understanding the “why” behind the patient’s choices, allows for a more tailored and effective treatment plan. Overall, the physician’s philosophy embodies compassion, empathy, and a commitment to helping patients achieve their health goals.

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