Choosing a Primary Care Doctor? Here's Some Advice
Although you will probably see several different kinds of doctors for several different ailments in your life, you really need a primary care doctor to coordinate the care and act as your main point of contact with the medical system. Since this person has so much responsibility, it is important that you put the time and effort into choosing the primary care doctor who best suits your individual needs. Here are some tips for doing that.
Make sure the drive is not too far.
Right now, if you are well, you may figure it's no big deal to drive 30 minutes or even more to a primary care doctor since you only do it once a year or so. But if you do get sick and need to see this doctor more often, driving that far will soon become a nuisance. It's worth putting in the effort to find a doctor whose office is closer to your home so that you don't have to spend as much time in your vehicle. You also won't have to account for as much driving time on either side of the appointment when the office is closer.
Look for a center that offers some in-house specialties.
Instead of looking for a primary care doctor who has a small office independent of other practitioners, look for one who practices in a shared hospital or medical center. If there are a few common specialists in the same practice — such as an OBGYN, dermatologist, and orthopedist — you will have an easier time getting referrals for these specialties, and the specialists who treat you will already have an existing relationship with your primary care physician, which can make it easier for them to collaborate on your care.
Meet the doctors in person.
If possible, meet a couple of primary care doctors in person before you choose one. You want to hire a doctor who you find easy to talk to and who you feel comfortable around. It's hard to judge that based on a phone call or by reading reviews from other patients. Other patients may like a doctor that you simply don't mesh with and vice versa.
It's worth putting some time into choosing a primary care center and physician because this doctor will be providing quite a lot of care for you over the years. If you follow the advice above, you'll be off to a good start.