Tip on Electing a Primary Care Physician
By Dr. Gabriel M. Deschamps
Deciding to change primary care physicians can seem like a daunting task for most people. It can also be the best decision they make for their family. It helps if they think of the doctor as a partner on keeping them healthy rather than curing a passing illness. The doctor will be the family’s go to person for anything health related and keeping everything at one doctor’s office can help since they will have the family’s personal health history, schedules for routine test screening and help prevent or detect diseases like cancer, diabetes or heart related issues.
The family should go with a doctor that is current on the latest research on disease and risk factors. He or she should be somewhat of a life coach that will encourage the family to form a healthy lifestyle.
Some standard recommendations when a family chooses a primary care physician can be:
- Getting family or friends to recommend the doctors they see. This can give a reference as to see of that particular doctor can match up with their lifestyle as well as knowing that he or she has a great reputation and patient focused care.
- They should always feel completely comfortable with the doctor they choose. Since they will need to develop a trusting and long term doctor-patient relationship.
- They should make sure the doctor uses personal electronic health records, this will make visiting a specialist a much easier task. EHR’s also will allow them to view test results online and to receive automatic reminders on when they might be due for immunizations and health maintenance screenings.
- It would be important to consider the doctor’s office location or of they make house calls. It’s always more convenient to have a doctor close to home or work.
- How easy is it to visit the doctor, a lot of them have a same day visit policy?
- Does the doctor that is being considered offer a holistic, open-dialogue and educational approach?
- Does the doctor work with the insurance that the family uses?
- Are the office hours convenient to your schedule?
- How easy is it to reach the provider? Does the provider use email?
- Does the provider have a conservative or aggressive approach to treatment?
- Does the provider order a lot of tests?
- Does the provider refer to other specialists frequently or infrequently?
Selecting the individual or a family’s primary care physician is an important step to a more healthful lifestyle. And hopefully these recommendations will help in finding the appropriate doctor today.