7 questions to ask when choosing a primary care doc

Archive, March, Month

How can you determine if a family doctor is a good fit for you and your family.

There are the standard, basic questions of ‘Are you accepting new patients?’ and ‘Do you take my insurance?’

But when choosing a new family or primary care physician, what should you consider before deciding on him or her? What details about their practice matter? How does the doctor interact with patients?

What questions will help you to really know and understand who the doctor is and how he or she can effectively manage your health?

“When looking for a PCP, I encourage people to find a doctor who listens to their concerns and strives to help them work toward optimal health,” said Katherine Roth, a McLaren Macomb family physician.” I believe a PCP should focus on treating the whole person, including mind, body and spirit, along with providing optimal treatment regimens for chronic diseases, and staying current with preventative care services.”

What is the doctor’s patient population age range?

If you’re an older person or have younger children, make sure the doctor can meet the needs specific to your patient population.

What local hospitals are the doctors associated with?

Make sure the doctor has the ability to admit patients at a local hospital, which will also have a staff of specialists the doctor can refer you to for any specialized care.

How does the office communicate?

How do you prefer to receive updates and/or make appointments? Determine how the office communicates (such as, do they have an online portal?) and ensure it lines up with how you prefer to communicate.

Are they available late or on short notice?

Determine the office’s process for appointments for sudden illnesses. If doctors are available for last-minute appointments, or if another provider is available later in the day or weekends.

Can the doctor manage your chronic condition(s)?

Which chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis and others) do you live with that the doctor should know about and take into consideration when providing/managing care?

Will the doctor allow you into the decision-making process?

Will the doctor listen to you and your concerns when it comes to your care and treatment? Do you have a say in how you want to be treated?

Most importantly, how do you feel about your interactions with the doctor?

How did the meeting with the doctor make you feel person-to-person?