A primary care physician can help you get the right tests and care at the right time. Whether you’re single or have a family, each person has different needs and a primary care doctor helps you keep on top of your health.
If you need to find a primary care doctor, it’s usually better to pick one who’s in your health insurance company’s network. This is because you often pay less out of pocket when you see a network doctor. Your health insurer’s website may have an online directory of doctors you can search who are close to you. You can even try looking for a favorite doctor if you have someone in mind.
Before choosing a primary care physician, you should decide if you want to:
- See a male or female doctor.
- Find a doctor who speaks your primary language.
- Choose a doctor with a certain specialty such as family practitioner, internist, OB/GYN or pediatrician.
Once you’ve chosen a primary care physician and set up a visit, write a list of questions so you don’t forget to ask them when you see the doctor. Also let your doctor know what medications you’re taking, including vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter drugs.1
Why checkups are important2
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a primary care doctor, you should set up a visit as soon as you can. Getting an exam and tests can help spot a problem early or before it even starts. It’s more likely that you’ll live longer and enjoy better health. Together, you can make a plan to make any needed changes.
Here are some other issues you can talk about with your doctor:1
- Do you need to get any tests or vaccinations? It might be time to check your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar level, colon, prostate or something else.
- Have you had any recent changes in your health? For example, is there anything new with your eating habits, sleep patterns or emotional state?
- Be honest with your primary care doctor. Let your doctor know about any health issues and if you’re eating healthy, exercising enough or taking medications as prescribed.
- Ask your doctor the right questions. At your first visit, you should find out things such as the office’s hours, how long does it take to see a doctor for a routine visit and if you can talk with a doctor by phone or via email about a health issue.
Remember to make any needed follow-up visits and you’ll stay on track to better health!