A primary care provider’s role is to help not only in times of sickness but also with preventive care. Primary care providers (PCP) encourage a healthy lifestyle, treat for ongoing health issues, and make referrals to specialty physicians when necessary. These providers can be physicians or advanced practice providers (APPs) such as physician assistants (PA) or nurse practitioners (NP). With so many options, what is the best way to choose a new provider?
The role of the relationship
Forming a relationship with a healthcare provider requires a level of honesty and trust. Establishing this trusting relationship is a vital part of a successful healthcare plan. One of the best questions to ask a PCP is about their treatment philosophy. Though all healthcare providers are trained in similar general health guidelines, some philosophies and preferences will vary. Learn if the provider’s treatment strategies for healthy living allow for alternative therapies or holistic treatments.
Quick tip: ask questions beforehand
When searching for a new healthcare provider, make an appointment for a wellness visit. It’s great when a PCP meets a patient for the first time under good circumstances to get a baseline for how the patient is when they feel well. This appointment is an ideal time to ask questions about how long for follow-up visits and if the clinic has any specialties like heart disease or diabetes.
Logistics may be boring but they matter
When it comes to healthcare, logistics which can sometimes be boring questions, play a very important role in finding the right provider. Some typical questions to consider are as follows:
- Is the provider geographically desirable to work or home
- How long does it take to get an appointment
- Are same day or next day appointments available for established patients
- What insurance plans are accepted
These logistics help narrow down the pool of providers considerably. Choosing a new PCP doesn’t have to be a daunting task. When you can find someone who meets needs logistically and philosophically, you’ll have found a provider you’ll want to continue seeing for years to come.