Even though it has been established that there is a lack of primary care providers in the United States, the fact that there are still over 200,000 physicians and 234,900 nurse practitioners qualified to practice primary care makes it difficult for patients to find one that is right for them. More than 50% of medical visits are to a primary care provider and because of this, you want a PCP that will consider you and your entire family’s well-being a top priority.
We provide a couple of essential tips in this post that you should keep in mind when it comes to choosing the right primary care provider.
The Location is a Priority
You will usually be given access to a list of practitioners that fall within your insurance provider’s network. Generally, the clinicians that you are presented with are all local to your particular area – but choosing a random one on that list could mean having to drive an hour to get to them.
When choosing a primary care provider, location is convenient – and in this case, convenience in terms of the location is not a luxury, but rather a necessity.
If you find yourself sick, regardless of the condition affecting you, you may not want to drive an hour toward a practitioner that you decided on earlier. Thus, when you are looking for the right PCP, start by making a list of primary care providers that are closest to you. This way, you will ensure the one you end up choosing will not be too far from you when you do fall sick and need medical help.
Just to prove this fact, we want to take a quick look at one scientific study. Researchers looked at how the distance between patient and healthcare provider affected recovery. The results clearly showed that the longer the distance between you and your PCP, the more of a delay there is in the recovery of your illness.
Do Some Research on Your Options
When you have a list of potential PCPs in an area that is in a close perimeter to your location, the next step should be to take a closer look at each option – you want to find out more about each of the healthcare professionals that are available to you. This way, you will have a much easier time choosing a primary care provider that will be adequate for you.
There are different ways to go about this particular process. You could give the reception at each office a call, or you could take advantage of the internet. A simple search for the PCPs name or the name of the clinic should at least give you some information.
Here, you should be able to identify the type of practitioner – any particular specialties that they might be specializing in, for example.
While doing research on them, you need to consider your own needs as well. If you need a provider that can cater to your entire family, and you have children, then you may need a care provider that specializes in “family medicine.” Internal medicine is another type of area where a primary care provider may specialize in, but in these cases, patients will usually be adults.
Another factor that you need to take into consideration is your personal gender preferences. You may be more comfortable with a clinician who is specifically male or female. This is not something that everyone might want to select, but if you do prefer to consult with a provider who is a specific gender, consider this here.
Filter down your list to the providers in the local perimeter that matches your criteria and those that seem like they might be good options.
Check References and Reviews
You won’t be able to get in touch with a PCP and ask them for references – as the details of other patients are considered confidential. This, again, is a place where the internet may become very useful. Simply enter the details of the clinician in Google, and you are very likely to find a “Google My Business” listing for the office. Here, see if people have left any reviews on their page in the past.
If you find reviews, read through them, this can give you a better overview of what other patients think about that primary care provider.
Make an Initial Consultation
Many people may want to have a consultation with one or two providers before making a final decision. Start by filtering through your list and getting it down to your top few options – this could even be three if you want to. Make an appointment with each.
Consider your experience from the moment you give the office a call. The reception should be friendly, and you should feel comfortable talking to the staff. When you arrive, you should feel welcome and not uncomfortable. Most importantly, when you see the primary care provider, you should feel at ease – you need to be able to open up and talk to them about any health-related issues that you might be facing.
You also want to ensure the PCP really cares about cultivating a patient-practitioner relationship. They need to care about you – you should not feel like they are rushing through the appointment.
Primary care providers are the most commonly utilized healthcare professionals. These individuals are able to provide patients with essential care services and treatments for common illnesses. Understanding what particular factors to take into account when selecting a primary care provider is important, as you are going to entrust your own health, and possibly the wellbeing of your family, to this professional.