Wednesday, October 25, 2017
So it’s time to find a regular doctor – someone you feel comfortable visiting every year to stay healthy. What should you be looking for in your primary care physician?
- Specialties/Disciplines. First, what kind of doctor should you search for?A few different disciplines are considered primary care:
- Internists, or doctors of internal medicine offer primary care for adults.
- Pediatrics is primary care designed for children, usually with waiting rooms and exam rooms that are more kid-friendly.
- General practitioners or doctors of family medicine see patients of all ages – great if you want the same doctor for your kids and yourself.
- Location. Next, make sure the doctor is easy to reach. A doctor close to your workplace will make it easier to get checkups on your lunch break, while a doctor closer to your home will mean quicker care when you’re out sick. Consider which is more important for you.
- Insurance Network. Check with your insurance provider to make sure this doctor is in the network – which means it will be less expensive than visiting an out-of-network doctor.
- Access to a Health System. Doctors who practice as part of a larger health system offer several advantages, particularly if you will ever need a specialist or a hospital procedure (and most of us will in our lifetimes). It’s often easier to get referrals and to transfer your records when your doctor regularly deals with other branches of a comprehensive health system.
- Personality. Last but not least, you’ll want a doctor you feel comfortable talking to. Ask local family and friends about their doctors, or check reviews on sites like HealthGrades, RateMDs or Vitals – just remember that these are based on individual opinions rather than official standards of care. It’s also okay to make appointments with a few different doctors to find out who you feel the most comfortable with.
Now that you know what to look for, where should you start? Try our handy Find a Doctor tool to find local primary care physicians who are part of the Norman Regional Health System.