Everybody, no matter their age, should have a primary care provider. Choosing the right primary care physician (PCP) can be difficult — especially if you’re unfamiliar with a new community or entering a new phase of life. Or, perhaps you’re ready for a change and want to find a doctor that’s better suited to your needs. Whatever your reasons, primary care physicians are the foundation of your wellness community, so you need someone you can trust.
PCPs are your first source in preventative care; they manage routine check-ups, physicals and immunizations. They also run screenings for chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. And while all primary care doctors provide a measure of preventative care, there are different fields that these physicians specialize in. Evaluate what your individual and family health needs might be, then choose a provider accordingly — specified primary care includes:
- Pediatrics. If you have children, pediatricians may be the right fit. They specialize in common conditions and illnesses for children – from birth to early adulthood.
- Internal medicine. These kinds of providers only treat adults, and provide simple to intensive care from early adulthood on. They’re also trained to help care for common aging conditions such as high blood pressure and can provide referrals to OBGYN’s and other specialists if needed.
- Family medicine. Similar to pediatricians, these doctors are also trained to care for children — and the entire family. From children to grandparents, these providers can attend to a wide spectrum of family healthcare needs.
In addition to the type of provider you choose, there are other factors to consider. For example, is your insurance accepted with this prospective provider? Are they located in a convenient location? And, do their office hours align with your schedule? As you go about deciding which kind of primary care doctor is right for you, consider simple, yet important aspects such as languages spoken, healthcare values and specific healthcare treatment. This handy infographic may help.
Once you’ve found a provider that you’re interested in, schedule an in-person or virtual appointment to meet them. Cold calls are also a great way to get a quick impression of a doctor’s office. Conduct some research about your prospective provider.
El Camino Health has a highly-skilled team of primary care providers in every field. Find a primary care provider through El Camino Health — you can count on your El Camino Health PCP to provide diagnosis and treatment for most illnesses and injuries, management for chronic conditions, preventative care, medication management and referrals to other specialists as needed.
This article first appeared in the September 2021 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.