Top 5 steps to choosing the right PCP for you

May 17, 2017 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Your health is the most important thing you’ve got. A primary care physician (PCP) is your own personal doctor and go-to person for all your health care needs.

When you have a symptom or concern, your PCP is your first point of contact. Not only does your PCP diagnose and treat illness, he or she will counsel and educate you about how to maintain your health and prevent disease. Your primary care physician ultimately becomes your long-term partner for a healthy life.

You know you need a PCP, but with hundreds to choose from, how do you find the right one?

Look for a doctor who meets these five criteria. Don’t settle for less.

  1. Specialty. Not all PCPs are alike. Choose one that matches you and/or your family’s needs by first knowing the difference between the types of PCPs:

    • Family medicine physicians see people of all ages, from infants to seniors.
    • Internal medicine physicians (internists) typically treat adult patients ages 18 and up.
    • Pediatricians are physicians who treat newborns, children and teens.

    Once you know the type of PCP you’re looking for, you’ll want to learn about the doctor, including education, credentials, clinical interests, philosophy of care, insurances accepted, etc.

  2. Convenience. You’re busy. Finding time in your busy day to visit your PCP can be a challenge. A doctor’s office that’s close to home or work makes a big difference. Look for access to an extensive network of physicians who are conveniently located and affiliated with the hospital of your choice.

  3. Transparency. You can look up reviews for hotels and restaurants, but wouldn’t you like to read about your healthcare providers too? Some healthcare sites post doctor reviews and ratings based on objective patient feedback. It’s nice to know what actual patients say about their experiences with the doctor so you get a balanced view.

  4. Patient portal. You use your phone to juggle your day-to-day, so having online access to your health information makes sense. Some providers offer direct online access to their patients’ electronic health record, where you can request appointments or prescription refills, view test results, and communicate with your doctor’s office staff.

  5. Online scheduling. You’ve found a PCP and now you want to schedule an appointment. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to schedule from your mobile device, 24/7? Need a same-day appointment? A site that allows you to sort by physicians with the next available appointment helps you quickly find a doctor with the availability you need.

Have you found a primary care physician that fits all of the above yet?

With more than 600 PCPs to choose from at Edward-Elmhurst Health, finding the right doctor has never been easier. Convenience? Check. Online scheduling? Check. Check them all off your list because we’ve got you covered.

Learn more about primary care.

Now let’s find a doctor.

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