Having a primary care provider means having an advocate for preventative care, and an ally for our life long health journey. Choosing the right provider means finding a doctor that you are comfortable with, and one who will help you navigate your health needs now and in years to come.
What is Primary Care?
Your primary care provider is your first point of contact in the healthcare system. They are your go-to resource for everyday wellness concerns, annual health checkups, and preventative care.
Additionally, your primary care provider is responsible for coordinating your continued care in larger systems. Should you go to a specialist or require a surgical procedure, your primary care provider will be involved in each step of the process, from referral to recovery.
Finding a Doctor
More often than not, patients not only have access to a primary care provider, but also to an expansive primary care team. This team is comprised of your doctor as well as a specific group of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Having access to this collective primary care team means that patients will always be seen by a medical professional that is familiar with their unique health situation. If your primary care provider cannot be reached, then your primary care team stands in and vice versa.
While all primary care physicians share a focus on preventative medicine, many also have backgrounds in other specialties including family medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, obstetrics or internal medicine. When searching for a primary care provider, it is important to look for the physician who is best suited to treat your specific health needs.
There are a few other important factors to consider when searching for a primary care provider:
- Network Access – As with any other medical decision, it is always important to make sure that your new provider is covered in your current insurance network. Most healthcare institutions will have their affiliated networks listed on their site, but you can also verify this information online, or by contacting your current insurance provider.
- Comfort – Because this doctor will play such a vital role in your life long health, it is imperative that you choose a physician you are comfortable talking to and expressing any concerns. It can take a little time, or at least a couple of appointments for you and your physician to truly get to know one another. But, establishing this mutual relationship will be well worth the effort, as this is the person who will guide your health decisions for the majority of your adult life. It is important to remember that over time, your physician will be building a relationship not only with you, but with your loved ones as well.
- Logistics – More practical considerations, like your doctor’s physical office location, clinic hours, patient support systems and hospital affiliations should also be factored into your primary care decisions. Should the day come where you need immediate medical attention, proximity to and familiarity with the healthcare system responsible for your treatment can make all the difference in your patient experience, and in your recovery.
At South Shore Health, primary care providers focus on the full spectrum of their patient’s health and wellness. In addition to preventative care, doctors prioritize treating the patient as a whole, incorporating physical, mental and emotional health into their primary care initiatives.
Visit southshorehealth.org to learn more about our primary care practice or to find a physician who’s right for you.