Your primary care physician (PCP) provides the preventive, acute and chronic disease care needed to maintain your health. Because you work closely with your PCP, you need someone who can understand both your physical and emotional/mental health needs and can deliver care with skill. What follows is information on how to find that just-right doctor.
Check Your Health Insurance
The right doctor must be in your health insurance network. Find out by calling the provider’s office, and contact your health insurance carrier to verify the same. Ask about copays and fees for tests and X-rays. Financial headaches should not be a part of starting a relationship with a new PCP.
Location Plays a Role in Your Choice
Select a doctor close to home, school, or place of employment. If you use public transportation, make sure the facility is on a bus line. Ask the office staff where patients get diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and blood work. When your basic health care needs are conveniently located, you save a lot of time, gas, and frustration.
Get a Reliable Referral
If your current doctor is retiring or moving, you may wish to ask him or her for a recommendation. Your PCP understands your health history and goals and may provide a few names to research.
Additionally, you can ask friends, coworkers or relatives who they use as their primary medical provider. Talking to someone you trust is a reliable way to understand the doctor’s bedside manner and diagnostic skills.
Verify the Doctor’s Credentials
Most physician websites provide a short biography. Read where the doctor was schooled and took residency and specialty training.
And, speaking of specialty training, verify that your new PCP is board-certified in internal or family practice medicine. Go to the American Board of Medical Specialties, and look for the button, “Is My Doctor Board Certified?” Type in name, state and specialty to learn if the physician has this important credential. Board-certification shows that the doctor meets rigorous knowledge and skill requirements, values peer association and keeps up to date on the latest in diagnostic and treatment procedures.
Look for a Patient Portal
Check the doctor’s website for access to a patient portal. This communication tool helps patients see test results, get prescription refills, view the medical chart, ask non-urgent questions, make or change appointments and more.
Consult with Your Prospective Primary Care Physician
Book an initial appointment and consider it as an interview. Be prepared to ask the doctor questions about your current health concerns. Notice his or her communication style and if you feel you can converse openly and honestly with the physician.
While you’re there, note how friendly the staff is, how long your wait time is and the general orderliness of the facility. Find out how long it takes to get appointments for annual check-ups and what the office hours are for sick visits.
Make a Decision
You may wish to evaluate more than one doctor or practice before you decide which PCP is right for you and your health needs and goals. Remember, your doctor provides a medical home to treat you when you are ill, give you routine physicals, refer you to specialty care and keep your medical record accurate, up to date and private. Think carefully, and then decide.
Primary Doctor Near Me in Bradenton, Florida
To find the best primary care doctor near you, contact Intercoastal Medical Group. We have 10 locations with more than 100 healthcare providers on staff to serve your primary and specialty care needs.
Pick the location most convenient for you and give us a call to book a consultation. Or, if you like, fill in our appointment request form, and we will be in touch shortly. We look forward to treating you!