Your primary care provider is the person you will most likely have the most contact with when it comes to your health – they will help you take care of your overall well-being, as well as refer you to specialist doctors if the need arises.
For this reason, you should give the decision regarding who to choose as your primary care physician quite a bit of thought to ensure that you’re making the right choice. There are a few things that you need to take into account during the decision-making process, and we will tell you all about them below.
Check Which Doctors Are In-Network
If you fall under any health insurance, then probably one of the best things you can do when picking a doctor is to choose one that is in your network. That’s because health insurance providers usually have a signed contract with them which results in lower fees for their insurees.
Doctors that are out of your network might not accept your health insurance, forcing you to pay the full price for their services, which is usually a lot higher than if you were to visit a doctor that has a contract with your insurance provider.
If you don’t have health insurance, then this won’t really make a difference to you. However, in that case, you should ask the potential primary physicians about the costs of their services so that you know from the very beginning what to expect.
Check our Primary Care services
Ask Your Friends and Family for Recommendations
There’s truly no better way of finding something or someone you need than by asking other people, especially your friends and family members. You can be sure that they aren’t recommending you someone because it benefits them, but because they genuinely had a good experience with them.
However, if no one you know can offer insight into this matter, there are always other people you could ask – specifically medical professionals that you already frequent. You can ask your dentist, your optician, or even your pharmacist. They might be able to help since they’re part of the medical environment. If your change in primary care provider is because of a move, you can ask your soon-to-be previous doctor for some recommendations.
Think About the Logistics
In most cases, you will be visiting your primary care physician when you’re not feeling well, which is why it’s important that their office is located somewhere that is easy to get to. There’s no point in having to cross the whole city just to get to the doctor’s office, not to mention how exhausting it could be. And as far as the distance goes, you might also want to ask about things like blood work and where they will be taking place. Some doctor’s offices can perform the basic procedures, while others will have you go to another location to do them.
Another very important thing to consider is the doctor’s availability. Is it easy to get an appointment, or do you have to wait a while? What are the hours when the doctor is available? Do they only work weekdays, or are they also seeing patients during the weekend? Does the doctor offer online or phone services, or are they only provided in their office?
Finally, consider whether there might be a language barrier. Check which languages the doctor you are considering speaks and whether you’ll be able to communicate with each other efficiently. After all, a doctor cannot treat you correctly if they don’t know what symptoms you are experiencing.
Consider What Kind of Doctor You Need
By that, we mean that you need to think about whether you’re looking for someone who specializes in working with a particular age group, or maybe that has expertise or experience with a specific medical condition.
After verifying all of that, you should definitely check if the doctor you’re considering is board-certified. If a medical professional is board-certified, it means that they went the extra mile to prove that they are indeed an expert in a particular field. How can you check that? The American Board of Medical Specialties keeps a database of all board-certified doctors so that potential patients like yourself have easy access to that information.
Now, about the demographic group. Are you looking for a primary care physician for your children? Then, you might want to look at pediatricians in your area. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for someone to take care of an older person, you might want to consider a geriatrician. Finally, if you want someone to provide care for your whole family, then you should look for a family medicine practitioner.
Visit the Doctor’s Office
No matter how much research you do, nothing is going to tell you more about whether you’re making a good decision than an actual visit to the doctor’s office. You will be able to see not only the office itself, but also how the staff is working, whether they are nice and friendly, and so on. During your appointment, you will also be able to see if you and the particular primary care practitioner are a good fit.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right primary care practitioner is a decision that you shouldn’t take lightly – after all, they will be your main point of contact with the healthcare system, as well as the person you will most likely have the most contact with in terms of your health. However, with so many doctors available, how can you know which one will be the best for you?
There are a few things you should take into consideration, including the doctor’s availability, where their office is located, what language they speak, whether their services meet your needs, etc. But the most important thing that will tell you whether a doctor is a good fit for you is an actual visit.
We understand how important primary care is, which is why we always go above and beyond for our patients. If you’re based in Orlando, Florida, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us and see for yourself. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed with our medical care!