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Primary care physicians are the backbone of our healthcare system. With the ever-increasing pressures on healthcare services, PCPs will be in a stronger position than ever to meet the demand for their services. PCPs often have long waiting lists, or you may have to call many practices until you find one that has an opening. You may also need time off work or school to wait for an appointment.

 

  1. Get an Evaluation.

A primary care physician is your doctor. As a part of a health plan’s network, they will be the first provider who will take you as a patient. Ensure that the PCP you choose is actively involved in the CPE process and that your medical records are organized and easy to access.

 

  1. Choose a PCP that Works with Your Health Plan.

When word gets around that practice is one that patients often love and are referred to, other practices want to work with them. Ask the PCP whom your health plan works with and ask why. If they are the office manager, you may want to check out other practices.

 

  1. Get Referrals Over an Initial Phone Call

If you are new to the area, use medical libraries and online resources as a starting point for finding a practice that fits your needs. You may need to contact more techniques than you’d like before finding one you feel comfortable with.

 

  1. Use Databases and Surveys to Find your Best Match.

Many medical websites have self-completed surveys and databases designed to help you find the best PCP based on your personal needs. You can also use popular dating sites like Vitalsource, Healthgrades, and Yelp.

 

  1. Get a Refresher Course on How to Choose the Best PCP.

Once you have found a practice, please get to know your doctor before you need to call them during off-hours or on the weekends. Learn their practice habits and how they handle emergencies. PCPs are there for simple illnesses but also complex cases. If you have any questions about what is involved in taking care of yourself when sick, ask your doctor and make sure you understand the answers.

 

The key to choosing the best primary care physician is asking the right questions and following through on those questions. If you have a good relationship with your PCP, you will be able to keep them on a regular schedule, regardless of their practice hours or need for time off of work or school. Taking the time to learn about your new PCP will ensure that you have someone who will be there for you long after your initial appointment.