Know what to look for when searching for a primary care provider.
Primary care providers (PCPs) do more than write prescriptions when you’re sick. They serve as your main healthcare provider and point of contact with the healthcare system, often for years or more at a time. They help you prevent and manage chronic conditions, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and refer you to specialists when complicated medical conditions arise. Having one provider who knows you and your medical history helps you focus on staying well.
Even if you only see your primary care provider once a year, it’s important to choose a provider who can accommodate all of your needs so that you’re covered no matter what situation you find yourself in.
Convenience should play a large part in your decision when searching for a PCP. Finding an office that is easily accessible and accommodating of your schedule can make visits easier when it’s time for an annual checkup or unexpected illness.
Being able to easily contact your PCP is also an important consideration. If you’re a phone person, you may prefer an office that communicates with patients primarily through calls and voicemail. Other offices may use email, websites or smartphone applications for patients who prefer to schedule appointments and ask questions via those channels.
Find a primary care office that meets your location, travel and communication needs so that requesting prescriptions and scheduling follow-up visits don’t become chores.
Your relationship with your PCP shouldn’t feel like a one-way street. It’s a partnership that benefits from your input and collaboration to help make treatment plans and preventive care successful. You’ll know you’ve found a good fit when PCPs make you feel cared for and respected, listen to your questions and concerns, and explain things in a way that you understand.
Make sure to keep your general health needs in mind when looking for a provider as well. Obstetrician-gynecologists often serve as PCPs for women, while geriatricians specialize in the care of older patients with complex medical needs.
Don’t be afraid to see multiple PCPs before making a choice, even if they all work at the same clinic. In fact, it’s often a good option to find a clinic with multiple providers you trust in case your PCP isn’t available on a day you when need to schedule an appointment.
If you’re not sure where to start, ask friends and family members for personal referrals. If you already have a PCP but know that he or she is moving or retiring soon, it’s acceptable to ask for a recommendation.
Online services are also available to help you search for PCPs and make initial appointments.
You can now schedule the care you need online, anytime. Visit getstvincentcare.com to schedule an appointment with a PCP.