When you select a new primary care physician (PCP), carefully consider what questions you should ask. When you’re prepared to partner with your PCP in the management of your health, it’s a win-win situation for both you and the provider. So ask away!
Will You Continue With My Current Medications, and What Additional Testing Will I Need?
All patients come to their PCPs with medical, surgical, and injury histories, as well as a list of medications, including vitamins and supplements. It’s important to communicate that history and medications list clearly and accurately – then you should ask the doctor if those medications should be continued under his or her care.
Also, during or after a first-time visit with a primary care physician, these doctors may prefer to run their own round of tests, even if another physician has recently ordered them for you. So, ask what testing you may need and if any of it can be done on-site. Tests that may be re-run with a new PCP include blood test, urinalysis, EKGs, lung function tests, and more.
What Steps Will You Take to Manage My Chronic Condition?
If you’re diabetic, have asthma, or require help with another chronic health problem, you’ll want your PCP to outline a specific treatment plan that includes the medications, therapies, and lifestyle changes that are considered part of your treatment. Ask how the doctor will track your progress and what the risks and benefits of specific interventions are.
When Do I Need Follow-up Appointments, and How Can I Communicate With You During Off-Hours?
The annual physical exam is the mainstay of adult healthcare. Your PCP should include this in your care plan. If you need follow-up after a surgery or injury, or require continuing management of a chronic condition, your new doctor should inform you of when and how often you should follow-up with him or her and how – e.g., via the patient portal, an office visit, or phone call.
Specifically ask who answers inquiries made after regular operating hours, how far in advance appointments are booked, and how long it takes to get a medication refill request filled.
What Preventive Screenings Do I Need?
Your new PCP should be able to tell you what screenings or tests you need, according to your age and gender. Examples include:
- Blood glucose and cholesterol screening
- Mammography and pap smears for women
- PSA blood test to screen men for prostate cancer
- Colonoscopy for colon cancer screening
If You Refer Me to a Specialist, How Will You Communicate With That Doctor or Therapist?
Most doctors depend on notes and documentation communicated through your paperless chart, or electronic record. Some may converse with a specialist over the phone on your behalf. Others do both. So, ask your new PCP about it – especially if you anticipate needing a speciality provider in the near future.
Can I Bring a Friend or Relative to My Appointments?
It can help to have another set of ears with you when you visit your PCP, particularly if you are navigating a new diagnosis or have an upcoming surgery. So, inquire of the physician if a trusted friend or loved one can come along to assist in note taking or asking questions.
Intercoastal Medical Group in Sarasota and Bradenton, FL
Our primary care physicians are highly qualified internists and family medicine practitioners. Whether you are a new patient or have been with us for years, our professional team always welcomes patient questions.
Please call us to arrange your initial or follow-up appointment at a location near you. We have 100+ doctors on staff, including highly experienced specialists. You can also request your appointment online. We look forward to welcoming you to the Intercoastal Medical Group patient family.