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Choosing a Primary Care Physician

October 18, 2018
If you’re looking to choose a primary care physician, you may feel a little overwhelmed. That’s why we’re here to help. This infographic outlines ways you can go about finding a great primary care physician based on your needs and requirements.

Infographic Script

Choosing a Primary Care Physician: A How-to Guide

Choosing a primary care physician is an important decision, as your doctor is your advisor and partner in helping you maintain good health. With such a major role to play in your life, deciding which doctor is right for you could be stressful. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be.

Changing Doctors?

Last year, 1 in 8 individuals changed their primary doctor.1 Why? There are a number of reasons patients make the move, such as:

  • Current doctor is retiring, moving, or unavailable
  • Quality of care and/or staff is subpar
  • Convenience
  • Health plan changes by doctor or change in insurance by the patient

Regardless of the reason, if you’re looking to make the switch, here’s how to go about choosing a primary care physician.

Type of Doctor

Primary care physicians can be broken down into 3 categories:

  • Family Practice: Physicians listed under Family Practice can treat patients of all ages, as well as many of the ailments that you’d normally see a specialist for.
  • Internal Medicine: Physicians listed under Internal Medicine generally treat adults and specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of diseases/chronic conditions.
  • General Practice: Physicians listed under General Practice treat patients of any age and may practice some form of alternative medicine.
Other Considerations
In Network:

Start your search by discovering doctors who are in your plan — commonly referred to as “In Network.” In-network physicians have negotiated special, discounted rates with your benefits provider, saving you money on your visits.

Convenience:

Consider the commute, office hours (can you make a weekend appointment, or do you have to take time off work?) and availability (how long do you have to wait until you can schedule an appointment?).

Research:

With a narrowed-down list of doctors, dive deeper into their qualifications. Where did they attend medical school? How long have they been practicing medicine? See if there are any negative marks on their record, such as malpractice claims or disciplinary actions.

Consultation:

After researching doctors in the area, narrow your list to a handful of physicians. Consider scheduling a consultation with each to gauge your comfort level. Remember, you need to be able to have honest, intimate conversations with this individual.

If you have followed all the steps and find yourself torn between a few doctors, compare prices as a tiebreaker. The same service could be a different price, depending on the hospital or doctor.2

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  1. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/selecting_a_doctor/ article_em.htm#start_early
  2. https://www.anthem.com/blog/your-health-care/care-and-cost-finder/

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