Choosing a primary care physician is a vital first step in managing your healthcare, and you should do so regardless of whether you are just starting out with Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, have just relocated, or are simply ready for a change. Your primary care physician should be thought of as your “medical home.” It is the doctor who you go to for the majority of your medical requirements, such as wellness checks and regular screenings, non-emergency ailments such as earaches and sore throats, and the person that you discuss your questions and concerns about your health with. If you have a health maintenance organization (HMO), your primary care physician is also the one who will make the referral for you to visit a specialist. Get Gastrointestinal Cancer Surgeon near you easily by searching on google maps.
There are some patient-primary care provider relationships that may last for decades, while others can be relatively short-lived due to factors such as moving or changing insurance. The connection with your primary care physician is a crucial one, regardless of how long you want to continue seeing them. You will want to choose someone with whom you are able to have open and honest talks, someone who is knowledgeable in the areas that are relevant to your health requirements, and someone who is “in-network” for the health insurance plan that you have. Our provider database, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association National Doctor and Hospital Locator, will assist you in refining your search for a suitable medical facility.
The following are five considerations to make when selecting a new primary care physician:
- Find out which physicians are part of your insurance provider’s “network.”
When it comes to health insurance, the majority of health plans have negotiated special, reduced rates with certain hospitals and physicians’ offices in your region. As a result, you will have lower out-of-pocket costs while seeing such providers, who are referred to as being “in-network.” If you want to prevent having to pay an unexpected “out-of-network” fee or having to pay the whole bill out of pocket because the doctor you’ve chosen doesn’t take your insurance plan, making sure that you choose a doctor who is “in-network” is the best way to do it. You may identify a local doctor who participates in your network by looking through our directory.
- Choose a Physician Whose Areas of Specialization Are Appropriate to Your Specific Health Requirements
Now that you have the list of physicians that are part of your insurance network, you can start the process of limiting it down. Primary care physicians may come from a variety of medical specialties; however, the most common ones are family practice, internal medicine, and general practice. Primary care physicians are responsible for providing patients with the most basic level of medical attention. There are also medical professionals that specialize on children and are referred to as pediatricians. These pediatricians will act as your child’s main care physician.
Family practice refers to the medical specialty in which doctors are trained to provide care for patients of varying ages, from infants to the elderly. They are generalists who are able to treat a broad range of problems. Often, they are also able to address conditions that you would ordinarily visit a specialist for, such as sports injuries or certain women’s health issues.
Internal medicine is the subspecialty of medicine that treats adults and focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of illness as well as the management of chronic disorders. Internal medicine specialists primarily see adult patients.
General practice doctors are similar to family practice physicians in that they are able to serve patients of any age or gender. General practice physicians are also known as internists. Osteopaths are physicians who practice a form of alternative medicine with a particular focus on the musculoskeletal system. They are distinguished from other physicians by the use of the letters “D.O.” rather than the letters “M.D.” after their names. This category is one area where you might also find osteopaths.
You may identify doctors that are part of our network who specialize in family practice, general practice, or internal medicine by consulting our online directory.
- Ask for Recommendations
Many individuals find that going to a doctor who comes highly recommended by someone they already know, such as a member of their family, a friend or a coworker, gives them the greatest peace of mind. You should inquire with people you know and discover who their relatives and friends see for medical care. You might also ask for a suggestion from another healthcare professional with whom you already have a working connection, such as a primary care physician who specializes in women’s health, a pharmacist, or even your dentist. If you are relocating, you should ask your present doctor whether they know of any good doctors in the area where you will be going to.
- Give some thought to the logistics.
Do you like to have your doctor practice in close proximity to your house or workplace? You should look for physicians that have offices that are located in areas that are easy for you to reach. You should also give some thought to the office hours; that is, what days and at what times does the doctor see patients? If you need to visit the office, will you have to take time off from work, or are you able to go after work or on the weekends? Checking out the medical facility where the patient will be admitted to is another prudent move to do.
Another essential aspect to look at is the language used. It is essential for you to be able to have a straightforward conversation with your physician; hence, you should inquire about the languages that he or she is fluent in to ensure that the two of you will have no trouble understanding one another. While choosing a physician, someone who is proficient in digital communication may place additional value on the fact that the majority of medical professionals now engage with patients through email or an online portal.
Make use of the “advanced search” function of our provider directory to track down in-network medical professionals who are fluent in Spanish or any other language.
- Go See a Medical Professional
A visit to the doctor’s office and a conversation face-to-face are the only ways to really get a sense of whether or not you have chosen the appropriate physician. Make sure that you are able to relax at the office and communicate well with the nurse and doctor. Your primary care doctor ought to be someone you have confidence in and on whom you can depend for assistance in managing your healthcare. Have a conversation with him or her about any drugs you are now taking as well as your medical history in order to ensure that you are on the same page with regard to the management of any chronic problems you may have.
While you are at the workplace, you should analyze the other aspects of the surrounding environment. Consider the mood of the folks who answer the phone and the people who meet you when you go in; are they helpful and friendly? Is there a reasonable response time for callers when they call in? When you want to arrange an appointment, how long in advance do you need to do so? And after you get there for your appointment, how long will it be before you really get to see the doctor?