5 tips to consider before choosing a primary care physician

When it comes to your health and well-being, choosing a primary care physician or medical specialist may be at the top of your priorities for getting the care that you need. People with a primary care doctor appear to be healthier partly because they are more likely to have an annual checkup and health screenings. 

Thanks to the increased availability of virtual care, connecting with primary doctors near you may be more convenient than ever. In fact, through a growing number of virtual health plans and telehealth advancements, care can now begin with an online appointment and move on to in-person support when necessary. This would help make access to treatment more convenient and affordable.

Asides from being available to offer virtual care, here are five tips for choosing a primary care physician:

1. The primary care physician should be the best fit

You may need to choose a different physician for each member of your family depending on their needs:

  1. Family medicine physicians or general practitioners are suited to provide preventive and whole-person health care for people of all ages.
  2. Internal medicine physicians help solve adult diagnostic problems and focus on a specific health concern. Internists usually have subspecialties like cardiology, oncology, gastroenterology, and more.
  3. Obstetrics/gynecology (OB/GYN) doctors specialize in women’s reproductive health.
  4. Pediatricians monitor the development of the physical, mental and social health of children, from birth to young adulthood.
  5. Geriatricians focus on health care for older adults, especially those with complicated medical issues.

2. Check your health plan coverage

Health plans may have consultancy limits, so choosing a mix of physicians to cover all your needs may help you reduce out-of-pocket costs. Search for the speciality you need, read the physician’s profile in line with your health plan conditions to stay within payment range.

If you’re a DiagnoStar Health Pay-As-You-Go plan member, you can sign in to your member account to find doctors under any speciality without such considerations.

3. Ask for recommendations

Keep in mind things that make consulting with a physician comfortable for you, such as the doctor’s age, gender and training. Then, consider looking for reviews of good experiences with the primary care physician. If you know other health professionals, consider asking them for a recommendation.

4. Do your research

Find as much information as you can on care providers. There are credible tools available when looking for details about care providers. For example, American Medical Association’s DoctorFinder tool is one such tool. Find out whether the doctor’s credentials match what they claim to be trained for and other relevant information.

5. Connect with staff and other physicians

When you’ve found a few good candidates, consider calling their clinics. Staff may be able to help with some questions you may have about them.

When you’ve settled on a choice, schedule an appointment virtually, to go over your medical history, health concerns and other issues. If you think the doctor appears knowledgeable, listens carefully and answers your questions, you may have found your match.