How to Find the Best Primary Care Physician

April 23, 2014

how to find a primary care physicianDid you know that America will need an additional 52,000 primary care physicians by 2025? The reasons for this projection include attrition, a growing population, and the enactment of the Affordable Care Act.

Currently, there are over 240,000 general physicians in the United States. In 2010, these doctors saw over one billion patients. If you do not have a primary care doctor, you may be putting your health at risk. After all, primary care physicians are often your first point of contact when you are sick, become injured, or have another medical condition that is affecting your quality of life. They can screen you for diseases, advise you on lifestyle choices such as nutrition and exercise, and perform routine tests to make sure that you are, and remain, as healthy as possible.

Read the tips below if you want to know how to find a primary care physician. Contact the doctor or the walk in health clinic to make an initial appointment once you learn how to find a primary care physician.

1. Consider the age of the primary care physician you desire. Older doctors bring many years of experience to the table. These doctors have a familiarity, if not in-depth experience, diagnosing the most common ailments that affect patients. However, the older the doctor, the larger their list of patients may be, meaning that it may take longer to secure a general appointment. Younger doctors, on the other hand, may be more knowledgeable about new technologies and advancements in medicine. Younger doctors are more apt to treat patients with alternative types of medicine, and they have a smaller client base. The disadvantage to younger doctors is, of course, the fact that they may not be as experienced when it comes to making diagnoses or recognizing symptoms.

2. Another factor to consider? Your doctor's personality Some doctors are laid back and easy going. These doctors are more likely to negotiate treatments and explain medical facts and diagnoses. Other doctors are organized and direct. These doctors supply basic information and tell you what you must do regarding your health. Do you prefer a physician who gives you a clear path of action, or one who might be more cautious and advise a wait-and-see approach? Consider your own personality type and choose a doctor that meshes best.

3. Consider your medical needs when thinking about how to find a primary care physician. Doctors specialize in family or internal medicine. Think about a specialized doctor if you have a chronic disease or disorder that requires frequent treatment. If you are relatively healthy and only visit your doctor once or twice a year for the occasional check-up, a general care doctor is best. They can refer you to specialists as needed.

4. Look for a doctor with an easily accessible office when choosing a primary care physician. This means that the best doctor for you usually has an office that's relatively close to your home. Depending on your schedule, the hours that the physician's office is open may also be a factor. Of course, you will also have to ensure that the doctor you're considering accepts your insurance, and make yourself aware of their co-pay and cancellation policies.

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