A primary care physician (PCP) is your partner for long-term health. He or she is the first person you should go to with medical needs or questions. A PCP is also there to keep you well through annual physicals and by recommending appropriate screenings. With the relationship you build over time, your PCP will get to know you so you can achieve your best health throughout life.
If you don’t already have a PCP, it’s time to find one. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the right match:
- Insurance – To find a primary care physician who is in-network, reach out to your health insurance provider. Finding a physician who is in-network will save you money because you’ll pay less out-of-pocket fees for office visits.
- Specialty – There’s more than one type of primary care physician. The one you choose to work with will depend on your individual needs.
- Internal Medicine Physician – This type of PCP typically treats teens and adults and may specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and management of specific diseases and chronic conditions.
- Family Medicine Physician – These doctors are able to treat a variety of conditions in patients of all ages from newborns to senior citizens.
- Pediatrician – These PCPs mainly care for newborns, infants, children and teens.
- Availability – Some PCPs stick to regular business hours and are only open during the work week. Others have extended hours and are available some evenings or weekends. You may also want to find out how quickly you can be seen. Some doctors have same-day availability while others require you to make an appointment days or even weeks in advance.
- Location – Ask yourself if you’re willing to travel to see your doctor or if you prefer to have someone nearby. It’s also a good idea to find out if labs and x-rays are performed in the same office or if you’ll need to go to another location to have these types of tests done.
- Rapport – You want a PCP you feel comfortable with and can trust with your health. In addition, you may want to consider if your doctor’s age or gender makes a difference to you.
Edward-Elmhurst Health understands the importance of finding the right PCP for your needs. Our primary care team includes dozens of physicians located across Chicagoland. To find a primary care physician that is right for you and to schedule a same- or next-day appointment, visit us online or call 630-426-7172.