Beginning a relationship with a primary care provider can help you take the worry out of not knowing where – or who – to start with. Your primary care provider will:
- See you for your physicals or checkups
- Make sure you have the screenings you need like mammograms or colonoscopies
- Take care of you when you're sick with the flu or a cold
- Help you manage a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure
- Connect you to specialists whom they know and trust.
A primary care provider can specialize in different areas:
- Family medicine
- Internal medicine
- Obstetrics and gynecology
No matter what a provider is specially-trained in, the focus is the same: answering your questions, learning what your hurdles are and helping you reach your goals.
Here are some things to consider when you're looking to establish a relationship for yourself or a loved one:
There are many different types of care providers: doctors, osteopaths, physician assistants or nurse practitioners. They all have one thing in common: a desire to care. So, regardless of the type of provider you see, your best interest is at the heart of every appointment. Look for years of training and educational institutes attended. Sometimes, finding your "right fit" is as simple as choosing someone who went to school in the town where you grew up.
Think about what you look for in a friend: someone who is caring, honest and approachable. Feeling comfortable with your provider is going to ultimately keep you healthier. A provider who knows your history – who you feel comfortable opening up to – can share honestly with you about ways to be your best, healthiest self.
- Focuses and interests
Does your family have a history of heart disease? Do you take a more holistic approach to your health? Are you a parent of young children and would like a provider who has firsthand experience with the “terrible twos” as well? Your family history, beliefs and stage in life are all things that make you who you are. Look for a provider who has professional interests in the conditions you're close to, or whose personal interests are similar to yours. Common ground can make for a long-lasting, trusting relationship.