Ask The Doc - Picking A Primary Care Physician

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Question: How do I choose a primary care physician?

By Dr. Chris Weber, MD, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, CSM’s Germantown Clinic

This is a question I hear frequently – but it’s especially important now during Open Enrollment season.

A primary care physician is someone you see on a regular basis who provides continuing care of your day-to-day health. They are someone who knows you, your personal and family history, and will notice changes in your health often before you even do. They are there not only to treat problems, but also to prevent problems from arising. That kind of strong doctor-patient relationship is the backbone of effective healthcare.

So how do you find the right doctor for you, someone who is qualified and someone you will trust and get along with personally? Let me share a few important things to keep in mind.

Don’t just pick the first doctor on the list that your insurance provides to you. Ask your friends and neighbors – the people you trust the most – to see if they have had any recommendations.

Visit the clinic you are considering, but don’t choose based on carpet and wallpaper alone. Pay attention to the reception area and the staff. Are they pleasant with you and other patients? Do people seem to move efficiently through the check-in process? A pleasant office makes for a calm experience that extends beyond the waiting room and into the doctor visit.

You may make an appointment to meet your potential new physician and let him or her get to know you before choosing a doctor. When you meet, pay attention to communication. Do you seem to understand each other? Do you feel comfortable talking, or do you get the sense that they are strained for time? Remember, communication is extremely important when it comes to getting the best medical care.

My final word of advice is that this is your decision. While continuity and a long-term relationship with your doctor is very important, it is also very important that you feel comfortable, cared for and listened to. If you currently have a physician but feel like you are not getting good care, be willing to change. And, if you do feel like you get good care, be sure to let your doctor and staff know.

Dr. Chris Weber is an internal medicine physician and pediatrician at CSM’s Germantown Clinic. For more information or if you have any questions, please call 262-250-7800.


This article appeared in the Thursday, November 12, issue of The Ozaukee News Graphic.

 

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