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One of the keys to maintaining your and your family’s health is to build a relationship with a primary care provider. When you are diligent about annual checkups and you see the same provider or practice when you don’t feel well, your provider can learn about you, track changes in your health and help you to avoid serious health issues.
“Having a primary care provider means you can reach out to them with questions and they can help you stay healthy with preventive care,” said Edward Lee, MD, Inspira Health Primary Care Sicklerville.
If you don’t have a primary care provider, or you’re looking for a new one, here are some tips for choosing one.
Ask family and friends
If you’re in the market for a primary care provider, asking friends and family who their providers are and why they like them is a good place to start. Consider your health needs compared to theirs and remember that what works for them may not be for you.
Determine which kind of practice you want
There are typically two kinds of primary care providers: internal medicine practitioners or family medicine practitioners. Internal medicine providers treat adults over 18 years of age, while family medicine providers treat the whole family. If you have children or are considering it in the near future, you may want to build a relationship with a family medicine provider.
“In addition to family medicine and internal medicine, some primary care providers have special experience or interest in treating patients with chronic conditions,” said Dr. Lee. “If you have a chronic condition, you may want to seek out a provider with experience in treating that.”
Check your insurance network
If you have insurance, determine whether the practices you’re considering are in-network or not. Your insurance will cover much more for in-network providers than those who are out of network. Most providers will list this on their website; however, you may need to call the office directly to find out.
Consider location and care coordination
It’s important to choose a primary care provider whose location is convenient for you. For example, you may choose a provider who is close to your work, or between work and home. If you have a family, you may choose a provider who is closer to your home.
You should also consider the services a provider offers and their ability to coordinate care. Can they offer telemedicine appointments easily? If you need a specialist, such as a cardiologist, orthopedist, endocrinologist or ENT, can they easily refer you? If you need surgery, are they connected to a larger health system?
“There are definite benefits to seeing a primary care provider within a larger network of providers,” said Dr. Lee. “They can easily share information and offer you a better patient experience that is seamless.”
Inspira Health is a high reliability organization (HRO), which means safety is the top priority for patients and staff.