From performing your annual physical to being your point person for any health concerns, your primary care physician is a critical part of your healthcare team. At Balance Hormone Center, we believe that full-body health requires a team of medical professionals dedicated to you. Our primary care team serves patients in all aspects of health, from small procedures to preventative care.
How Important Is a Primary Care Physician and Do I Need One?
Your primary care physician or PCP is your first point of contact when you’re feeling ill or need medical advice. When you establish with a PCP, they get to know your medical history and any chronic illnesses you may have. When it comes to your medical team, no one knows you like your PCP does.
A PCP provides medical advice, specialist recommendations, lifestyle advice and treatment for both acute and chronic medical issues. Your PCP will follow your health now and, in the future, to ensure you’re receiving the medical treatment you need.
What Is a Primary Care Physician and What Do They Do?
A primary care physician is your main doctor. They’re responsible for overseeing most of your medical care, whether acute, like a cold or chronic, like heart disease or diabetes. If you’re feeling ill, your PCP is the first in line to help, referring you to a specialist if required. Your PCP will:
- Conduct your yearly physical exams
- Oversee your preventative healthcare such as routine blood tests, medication refills, etc.
- Order routine examinations such as mammograms and colonoscopies
- Stay up to date on your health during hospital stays or ER visits
What Is the Best Way to Find a Great New Primary Care Physician?
When you decide it’s time to start your search for a new PCP, there are some steps you should take.
- Check your insurance: Some insurances require you to choose specific physicians covered under your plan. Check your insurance policy to see what physicians are in-network for you. You can do this by giving your insurance company a call or by visiting their website.
- Ask your network: Ask your friends and family for recommendations. You can also use social media to ask for recommendations from others in your area.
- Conduct a quick search: Go online and conduct a quick search for doctors local to you. Gather information about them and create a list of doctors you’d like to consider.
- Call the office or schedule an appointment: Call the doctor’s office to ask any questions you may have about the practice. Or, schedule an appointment to meet with the doctor to gauge your level of comfort.
If you meet with a new physician, make sure you discuss your current health and your future goals. You should choose a PCP that you’re comfortable with, one that you feel you can trust.
What Kind of Primary Care Physician Should I Choose?
There are a couple different types of doctors that are commonly defined as primary care physicians you can choose from including general practice physicians and family practice physicians.
General practice physicians are very similar to family practice physicians. They treat patients of any age, but some practice alternative medicine such as osteopathy, focusing on the musculoskeletal system. For a more holistic approach to your health, a general practice physician might be your best choice.
Family practice physicians treat the entire family, regardless of age. They have the ability to treat most health conditions, from acute to chronic. If you’re looking for a doctor for each member of your family, you might consider a family practice physician.
Are Internal Medicine Doctors Primary Care Physicians?
Internal medicine doctors are also primary care physicians, but they focus on caring for adults. During their education, internal medicine doctors or internists spend a large amount of time studying adult medical conditions.
According to the American College of Physicians, “Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness.”
How Can I Change My Primary Care Physician?
Is your current doctor dismissing your concerns? Maybe your family doctor is retiring and it’s time to move on. Whatever the case may be, there are some steps you should take to make it a smooth transition.
- Find a new doctor: If you haven’t yet, you should find a new physician prior to leaving your current one. You can ask for referrals, conduct an online search or call your insurance company for a list of local physicians. Make sure to check your insurance to see if specific physicians are required by your plan.
- Gather your medical records: You’ll need to gather your medical records from your current doctor to transfer to your new one. You can do this by requesting your records from your current doctor. Or, you can ask your new doctor to request them on your behalf.
- Make an appointment: You should call your new doctor’s office and make your first appointment. During this visit, you’ll get to know each other better. Your new doctor will ask questions about your health, your medications, etc.
Need a New Primary Care Physician? Call Balance Hormone Center.
At Balance Hormone Center, we have a team of caring primary care physicians ready to help you reach your best health. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 480-718-9960 or schedule an appointment online.