A woman meeting with her new primary care provider.
Healthy Living

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Primary Care Provider

Aug 17 2020

Think of your primary care provider as the front line in your health care. This is who you’ll see for regular checkups. It’s the doctor most likely to spot the early signs of disease or illness, which ups the odds of you living a longer, healthier life.

Choosing a primary care provider isn’t always easy, but picking the right one is essential. You need to have a medical professional on your side whom you trust and feel comfortable talking with. There’s a lot to consider when making your choice, including these five factors.

Check in-network options

The last thing you want is to pick a primary care provider only to find out that they don’t participate with your insurance network. Sticking with providers who are in-network gives you the best possible pricing. Most insurance companies and medical providers negotiate special rates, so you end up with fewer out-of-pocket charges or surprise extras. Check with your health plan to get a list of doctors to choose from.

Think about what you’re looking for

Start narrowing your options down by looking for the specific type of provider you need. Are you looking for a pediatrician? An OB/GYN? Do you want a family doctor who treats your children as well? Or do you want an internist who only treats adults?

Once you have that figured out, start thinking about what makes you comfortable with your medical professional. Are you looking for a primary care provider who is the same gender or age as you? Who speaks the same language? Find out which providers offer translation services. (Mercy Health physician practices offer translation services for more than 80 languages.)

Having a solid understanding of the qualities that matter most can help you choose a doctor who you’ll feel comfortable building a lasting relationship with.

Consider convenience

Building a solid relationship with your doctor is great. But you’re also far more likely to stay on top of routine checkups if your provider’s office is in a convenient location. Whittle down your list of possible choices by location. Also consider their office hours, if they have telehealth services available and whether you can have online access to medical records.

Get others’ opinions     

Ask around and find out everything you can about the providers you’re thinking of choosing. Talk to friends and family. Someone you know may have a primary care provider they love. If you’re still coming up short on information, use the Internet to do a little research. Reviews, recommendations and details about what others have experienced provide a window into what you can expect.

Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with the primary care provider you’re considering. If an in-person meetup isn’t possible due to COVID-19, opt for a phone call or video visit.

During this first visit, test the waters and ask important questions to get to know them better and to see if you’ll work well together.

Questions to consider include:

  • Can I call or email with questions?
  • How do you feel about alternative treatments?
  • What is your policy on involving family members in decisions about care?

The relationship between you and primary care provider is an important one. Let us help you find a primary care provider with ease!

Visit our website to learn about the primary care services we offer at Mercy Health. 

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