A primary care doctor is your main health care provider for non-emergency situations. He or she will help you to stay healthy, identify and treat medical problems, and refer you to a specialist if you need one.
There are several different types of primary care doctors:
- Family practitioners
- Pediatricians (who care for newborns, infants, children and adolescents)
- Obstetricians/gynecologists (who care for women and specialize in pregnancy and gynecological health)
Choosing a good primary care doctor can be a challenge. It’s more than just simply picking a name out of the phone book. Be sure to take time to research your options.
Here are some ways to get started:
- Check with your insurance company. They may require you to choose a primary care doctor from a specific list of providers. Most insurance companies have websites or directories to help you choose a doctor.
- Ask your friends, relatives, co-workers or neighbors for referrals. If someone you trust likes a doctor, you may like that doctor, too.
- If you’re moving to a new area, your current doctor may help you find a new primary care doctor in your new neighborhood.
- Doctor rating or grading websites can help you find a doctor based on specialty, location and type of insurance accepted. They also provide reviews from patients.
Don’t wait until you get sick to try to find a primary care doctor. Regular exams with your primary care doctor can uncover medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, that may go unnoticed for years.
Your primary care doctor will be involved in your care for a long time so choose one that will work well with you and your family.