3 Best Traits To Look For When Picking Your Primary Healthcare Provider

Picking a primary healthcare provider who is right for you can be a rather daunting task, especially if you have many choices in your area. In many cases, your search may be reduced to simply picking a name off the list your insurance company provides you. However, because choosing a PCP is such a personal and important decision, it’s critical to do what research you can ahead of time, decide what factors are important to you and then make a list of doctors in your area who meet your criteria. Here we’ll go over the three best traits to look for when picking your primary healthcare provider.

1. Do You Like And Trust Them?

This is perhaps the most important factor to consider when choosing a PCP. If you are able to have meet and greet appointments with some of the finalists on your list, you should because that gives you a chance to meet the doctors face-to-face and determine whether you’ll like them. Does he or she treat you with respect? Seriously listen to your concerns? Is he or she amiable? Does it seem like you can trust him or her with something as important as your health and well-being?

It’s also important to determine whether you trust them in a professional capacity. Does the primary care provider you’re considering seem like he really knows what he’s talking about? What kind of accreditation does he or she have? How long has he or she been in practice? While there are of course many great doctors who have been practicing for decades, there is sometimes a trade-off. Doctors always go through continuing education and training in order to keep their licenses, but you also need to make sure they have the proper equipment, such as surgical lighting, and everything is up-to-date and functioning properly.

2. Do They Take Your Insurance?

This might be the second most important trait to be looking for. Without insurance, healthcare visits to your PCP are going to be very expensive, and so it’s generally not even worth it to consider that PCP, no matter how recommended he or she may be. If you can afford to go to an out-of-network doctor because you truly like that PCP or he or she is more convenient to go to, that’s great, but most people are restrained by whether a PCP takes their insurance. Also consider the breadth of insurance this PCP takes, because you may end up having to change insurance carriers in the future.

3. Are They Convenient And Meet Your Needs?

A good example is does the PCP you’re looking at have admitting privileges at the hospital of your choice? Does he or she have the training and expertise to address your particular health needs? For example, do you have a chronic condition that needs to be managed and does the PCP you’re considering have experience and specialization in that area? Another major factor to consider is can you get an appointment with this doctor in a timely manner, or are wait times long? Punctuality is a great trait to see in a PCP. And of course, is he or she accepting new patients?

Another thing to consider is office hours. If you work during normal business hours, does this PCP offer evening hours, at least on some days of the week? This can be a big factor in how convenient choosing them as your PCP will turn out to be. Something else to think about is whether you would prefer your PCP speak the language you are most comfortable using.

While everyone’s needs are a little different, there are some universal traits one should look for when choosing a primary care provider. Look for the traits mentioned above and you should be well on your way to finding a primary care provider who can meet or exceed your needs.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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