A primary care physician (PCP) plays an important role in your overall health. You see your PCP when you’re sick, and you should also be seeing him or her regularly for well checks and screenings. Your relationship with your PCP can impact your overall health care experience, so make sure you choose carefully.
Different people prefer different personalities in their PCP, and that’s to be expected. But no matter your personal preference, there are some qualities to look for to ensure you’re getting thorough, quality care.
- They don’t accept one-word answers. At your well visit, your PCP probably asked you, “How are you doing?” Your first response may have been, “Fine.” But for a good physician, this isn’t enough. Chances are, he or she will follow up with detailed questions about your health conditions, your mental and emotional well-being, any new family history of health problems, and symptoms that need to be examined.
- They explain the “why” of your treatment. If you need a medication, test, or surgery, your physician should not only tell you what it is — but why he or she thinks you need it. If your physician prescribes or orders something, it should be for good reason: to benefit your health. Your PCP should give you a clear explanation of why this is recommended (in plain language) and how it will help you before you decide to move forward.
- You get good response from the office. You shouldn’t wait days for a call back or be stuck in a waiting room for hours. Physicians should have staff that can return calls promptly, help you find an appointment time that’s reasonable, and value your time. If you find yourself frustrated at the process to simply get an appointment, you may want to look elsewhere.
- They push preventive care. Your PCP should be making sure you’re up to date on screenings such as cholesterol checks, mammograms, and colonoscopies. If you have a higher risk of certain diseases, he or she may be inquiring about specific symptoms and tests for you. A good PCP wants to prevent illness as much as possible -- not just treat it.
- They make you comfortable. No one likes to talk about embarrassing health issues, even with their closest friend or spouse. But being able to open up to your PCP will ensure you get treatment you need. Your PCP needs to know details about your health — no matter how embarrassing. You should feel that your PCP is listening without judgment and is taking the time necessary to understand any problems you have.
Your PCP will be someone who works with you throughout your life, helping you achieve your best possible health. He or she will not only provide you with medical care, but will be your gatekeeper into specialists and other services as needed.
CarePoint Health Primary Care
Your primary care physician can help you manage your healthcare, and answer any questions you have about your health. Your PCP will help you navigate your well visits and specialist care throughout your life, and will be your health care advocate. To find a skilled primary care physician at CarePoint Health, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.