How To Find The Best Primary Care Physician
Edward Neeman | Published: June 14, 2018
What Are Primary Care Physicians?
At one time the family doctor was the physician you called first. Taking care of immunizations, routine care, and chronic follow-up, the family doctor has evolved. The job of the primary care physician is more complex, but they are still the first stop for most people in need of medical attention. As a point of clarification, the terms, "family medicine" and "primary care" are not the same. "Primary care" is a collaboration of care and does not equal the practice of "family medicine."
Personal physicians collaborate and direct medical care within the health system. This type of direction might include health maintenance and promotion; disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment; counseling and patient education. Taking place in a variety of healthcare settings including the doctor’s office, the hospital, a nursing home, at home, or schools. When appropriate, a referral from your physician to a specialist can be made. Your medical team coordinates all of your preventative needs. These needs range from preventive checkups for proactive health, to exploratory testing, to working with chronic health issues, scheduling appointments with specialists, and admissions to hospital facilities.
Advocating For The Patient
Coordinating patient care, the health provider role works as an advocate. Using effective communication, the patient becomes a partner in their healthcare experience. The physicians working in the primary care role are specifically trained in comprehensive initial contact evaluations and building relationships, and continuing care for persons with any undiagnosed health concern. This patient advocacy helps accomplish cost-effective care by coordination of medical services and long-term healthcare.
How To Find Your Primary Care Physician?
Most health agencies offer a primary care directory with physicians and their respective specialties. Initially, you may review this list a select a doctor with great reviews, education, and location. This is just a starting point because you want to do a little more research about what other people are saying about any primary care physician you are considering.
The internet is a great tool that allows you to easily find and compare primary care physicians available in your area and network. A simple search in Google will bring up a list of primary care physicians near you, and also allow you to easily read other people's experiences. However, the best tool available is people close to you.
You should talk to your friend's and family and listen to their recommendations. The internet is great for seeing reviews, but take all reviews for primary care physicians with a grain of salt. Many people only leave reviews when they have a bad experience, so it may not be the most accurate indicator. Your friends and family, on the other hand, will give you honest feedback.
Relationships Are Key
It is essential to establish a relationship with a primary care physician. The directory might lead you to the physician, but the first face-to-face interaction is key. Did the doctor seem rushed? Care about your concerns? Trust your instincts; bedside manner matters. The visits should be a standard part of your health maintenance. Being familiar with your personal medical history, medications, and family history reduces the margin of error and creates an important level of comfort. Working together for your optimal health, you and your doctor are partners. The doctor should be a good listener; taking the time to respond to your questions and ask clarifying questions, the level of trust and comfort is developed for future communication.
Patient And Family-Centered Care
When you are engaged in preventative care, you can receive treatment for acute illness faster by being referred to needed specialists. The primary care physician you choose will be involved in shared decision making in a hospital situation; therefore, you will also want a doctor with hospital credentials. This type of team physician involvement has resulted in higher patient satisfaction, control, and involvement. A patient- and family-centered primary care physician build relationships.
What Do You See Primary Care Physicians For?
Because primary care is the patient's first stop in the healthcare system and the continuing focus for all healthcare services, the primary care practice provides patients with ready access to their own personal physician (or backup physician). The practices also meet the needs of patients with unique and unknown problems. Many patient concerns and needs get cared for in the primary care practice. The practice helps access to doctors and care within the patient's community. It also maintains special relationships with hospitals and medical professionals for insight and referrals. The primary care practice is developed with a group of physicians and non-physician patient care professionals working together for the good of the patient.
Managing Your Healthcare Needs
Your primary care physician helps you manage your care: they work as an advocate. In addition to diagnosing and managing a wide range of health issues, they also teach patients about prevention and wellness. The foundation of trust creates the opportunity for long-range medical coordination because your doctor is familiar with your medical history; this is invaluable in a crisis situation. Patients see primary care physicians for a lot of reasons, but here is a short list of the most common ailments:
- Routine visits
- Preventive health and wellness(immunizations)
- General health needs
- Referrals to specialists
When it comes to managing your care and choosing your primary care provider, remember that well-aligned, proactive visits ensure better health and effective care for long-range issues. Develop a relationship, ask questions, and work as a team because you are worth it.