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Does your relationship status with your physician need a reboot?
Maybe you’re new in town, changing insurance or not clicking with the physician you have and want to find someone new.
Whatever the reason, your relationship with your primary care physician is an important one. This is the doctor you visit for most routine medical visits, such as the annual physical, ear aches, sore throats and infections. It is often the first doctor to discover underlying medical conditions that you were unaware of and that may require a referral to a specialist.
Majd Sweiss, MD, NorthShore Family Medicine, said convenience is important to consider during your search. That’s why she offers in-office visits, telehealth and some Saturday appointments because of her patients’ busy schedules. If you prefer a female versus a male physician, or someone who speaks a particular language, these are important considerations, too.
One thing to keep in mind: It’s best to choose a physician before you need one, this way you can build a relationship and share your health history without having to rush to a decision.
Here, Dr. Sweiss, offers these additional tips:
Ask for recommendations. Friends, neighbors, coworkers and family members are reliable resources for you and your search. Ask what they like about their physician, what they don’t like, if the office staff is organized, friendly and helpful and if there are long wait times to get an appointment.
Check your insurance. Some insurance plans have a list of doctors they want you to use and other plans may let you choose outside their “network” of doctors but you may end up paying more for visits. Either call your insurance company or check their website for a list of physicians to choose from.
Clinical expertise. There are different types of doctors that can serve as your primary care physician. Family medicine physicians treat patients of all ages with a wide variety of conditions. Internal medicine physicians have expertise with prevention and diagnosis of chronic conditions. General practice physicians are also trained to care for patients of all ages. They may choose to practice family medicine, which is considered a medical specialty.
Location and logistics. If it’s important to have a physician within a few miles from your house, narrow your search to location. You should also consider office hours and if the physician is available on weekends, if that’s important to you. Another important option is the availability of telehealth appointments.
Make a visit. Make an appointment to visit the doctor at the top of your list. You want a physician who makes you feel comfortable and at ease, one whose personal style and patient approach best matches your expectations. During the visit, think about whether the physician listened, spent enough time with you and gave you the opportunity to ask questions.
Make an appointment with your chosen Primary Care provider today!