How to choose a primary care physician
For individuals and families, it is important to have a primary care physician. Primary care physicians include family practitioners, pediatricians and internists. These physicians diagnose and treat patients for common medical conditions that aren’t emergencies.
When needed, they also refer patients to medical specialists. In addition, they can provide preventative care, including recommending healthy lifestyle choices.
Since primary care physicians usually have a longtime relationship with their patients, it is important to choose a physician that you are comfortable communicating with. When choosing a primary care physician, the National Institutes of Health recommends considering the following:
- Is the office staff friendly and helpful? Is the office good about returning calls?
- Are the office hours convenient to your schedule?
- How easy is it to reach the provider? Does the provider use email?
- Do you prefer a provider whose communication style is friendly and warm, or more formal?
- Do you prefer a provider focused on disease treatment, or wellness and prevention?
- Does the provider have a conservative or aggressive approach to treatment?
- Does the provider order a lot of tests?
- Does the provider refer to other specialists frequently or infrequently?
- What do colleagues and patients say about the provider?
- Does the provider invite you to be involved in your care? Does the provider view your patient-doctor relationship as a true partnership?
Once a relationship has been established with a primary care physician, it is important to communicate openly with your doctor.
To help communicate more effectively with your physician during appointments, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recommends asking these questions:
To find a McLaren Macomb physician, click the links to the left or call our physician referral center, at (855) 466-2527.
- What is the test for?
- How many times have you done this procedure?
- When will I get the results?
- Why do I need this treatment?
- Are there any alternatives?
- What are the possible complications?
- Which hospital is best for my needs?
- How do you spell the name of that drug?
- Are there any side effects?
- Will this medicine interact with medicines that I'm already taking?