11 Simple Tips on How To Select The Best Primary Care Provider

Prioritizing your health these days is non-negotiable. Having an expert medical professional means, you enjoy life with a health expert at your back. They can give you the medical attention when you need it and possibly, where you need it. For this reason, having access to a primary care provider is a must. But do you know how to select the best primary care provider?

Below are some tips you’d need to find the best provider for your medical needs.

Understand What You Need

Understanding that there is a problem is the first step toward solving it. To find a good primary care doctor, you need to identify your healthcare needs first. Your needs may vary from physical, mental, emotional, or physical, to name a few. 

To identify your health needs, you must first ask yourself important questions. For example, are you suffering from a specific ailment? What medical conditions do you particularly require? What part of your body needs medical attention the most? Formulating questions like these and answering them can help you fully understand what you’d need from a primary care doctor.

Check for primary care services offer

Check the Services They Offer

Primary care providers will often offer various services to their patients. Your job is to check what they provide to understand what service options are available for you. You’d want to find a doctor who offers a wide range of services instead of seeking different facilities to cater to your diverse needs.

For example, if you prefer receiving treatments from your home rather than on hospital grounds, you’d want to find a primary care doctor who can service you in your home. Therefore, it would be more advantageous to choose such providers instead of going out of your way. 

Consider their Experience

When selecting a primary care provider, you should choose someone who has experience in their field. Primary care providers are your first stop in medical care, so you must be sure that whomever you’re picking is fit for the job. Most primary care physicians are doctors, but nurse practitioners and physician assistants can be PCPs too.

Choose a primary care provider with a proven track record in their respective specialties. You can also ask them if they have board certifications. Additionally, try asking them for past patient references and their employment history. Every patient-caregiver relationship must start with trust between the two parties, and asking them for their qualifications can help establish that trust.

Check if They’re Certified

Certifications are solid and tangible proof that a primary care provider has the training and necessary skill set to offer their services. To know if they are certified, ask them for three documents.

Accreditation. Accredited primary care providers went through rigorous training beyond their academic credentials to sharpen their aptitudes in their respective fields of expertise.

Board Certification. This is the highest qualification any medical professional can acquire. If your primary care provider is board certified, they’ve gone the extra mile to obtain the training apart from essential accreditation.

License. A license shows that a medical professional can legally practice their profession. 

Consider Their Location

Location is arguably one of the most crucial factors when selecting a primary care provider. Would you want to drive miles away from home to address urgent medical attention? The distance between you and your chosen primary care provider is essential to access their services whenever you need to quickly.

Try to look for a local provider so you won’t have to go out of your way, especially during emergencies. If you can’t find a local one, find the nearest one, so traveling to them is easy, especially if you need regular checkups. 

Primary care service availability

Consider Their Availability

Another thing to consider is the doctor’s availability. Ensuring that you can contact and access your care provider is necessary, especially if emergencies arise. 

Here are some of the questions you need to ask them:

  • Can you access them when you need them? 
  • Are they available 24 hours a day? 
  • Can you contact them throughout the year? 
  • Do they work during the holidays or on weekends? 
  • If they’re not available, who will replace them for the time being?

Remember that you rely on them all the time since sickness doesn’t take off-days or vacation leaves.

Assess Resource Availability

Your selection of primary care providers may have the skillset to do their job correctly, but they would need the right resources to execute it. These resources include their trusty team and equipment. 

For this reason, you need to check if they have the equipment necessary to fulfill their services. Due to the ever-advancing technology, medical equipment is constantly improved for efficiency and accuracy. They must also have a reliable team of professionals they can rely on to assist them in providing their healthcare services.

If a primary care provider doesn’t have the resources, try to ask them if they’re partnered with certain hospitals where they can execute their medical operations.

When Should You Go to Urgent Care 

Urgent care can handle non-life-threatening medical conditions. So with that in mind, you should go to urgent care if your illness or injury needs to be taken care of within 24 hours, like minor broken bones or cuts that need stitching. And although they usually handle last-minute care, they can’t always deal with life-threatening medical conditions.

If your healthcare provider isn’t accessible at the time being, then an urgent care center might be the right place for you. However, keep in mind that these facilities are much like business establishments. They may be ideal for dealing with minor emergencies outside the 9-to-5, but they also have opening and closing times. 

Below are some of the most common conditions that urgent care centers deal with daily:

    • Minor fractures
    • X-rays 
    • Sore throat
    • Back pain
    • Mild burns
    • Rashes
    • Strains and sprains
    • Common colds
    • Small cuts that may require stitching
    • Blood tests
    • Bumps
    • Minor headaches
    • Animal bites
    • Asthma
    • Allergies

Since urgent cares deal with relatively simple health concerns, these facilities usually cater to more patients at a much faster pace. So if you have a minor injury, an easily treatable condition, or a simple test, you’re more likely to get better and faster service from an urgent care center. 

Primary care service reviews

Research Reviews

Reviews from previous patients reflect how the doctors perform. Try your best to check for reviews on listings, blogs, social media, and online resources to see if they fit your needs. If the people’s reviews are good, they can be a good candidate for you.

Remember that not everything you find on the internet is true, especially in the medical community. So be sure to check for verified sources when seeking medical care. One of the best places to start is with your health insurance website.

Seek Opinions

Ask for referrals from the people closest to you. Since you trust them, they can give you the proper referrals to qualified doctors who can provide you with the medical care you need. 

Ask your friends, relatives, and even co-workers if they know a good healthcare provider they can provide. If you have specific medical requirements, ensure your doctor specializes in that field or has access to the necessary resources to address your needs.

Factor In the Costs

Don’t forget to factor in the costs! When selecting a primary care provider, determine first if you have the budget. Various doctors and physicians have different service offerings that have diverse price ranges. Depending on the specificity and your condition’s treatment method, the price will either be high or budget-friendly.

With that in mind, you should choose a primary care provider that offers reasonable pricing for your ailments without compromising on quality. But be careful of settling with cheap services – they may have compromised quality. Remember that your health is on the line, and subpar healthcare is not an option.

Consider Continual Care

The role of primary care providers doesn’t stop during office hours. So when selecting a doctor for your needs, ask them if they handle after-hours health-related concerns. Also, ask them who will cover for them if they’re out of the office.



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