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A Primary (Care) Importance: Choose the Doctor Who's Right For You

Health Hub
Author name: Lee Health

Posted:

Primary care graphic

Finding a primary care provider (PCP) helps protect your overall well-being as you navigate life’s journey and changing health needs. An established relationship with your PCP is your key to living well.

But how do you go about finding and choosing a PCP who’s right for you and your family?

Tammy Powell, System Director, Lee Health/Lee Physician Group, talks about what to look for when choosing a PCP and how a relationship with them can help you live your best life. 

What should you look for when seeking a PCP for you and your family?

Because finding a PCP is such a personal decision, knowing what’s important for you and your family is crucial.

For example, if someone in your family has diabetes, finding a PCP who has a special interest in that condition may be important to you. Or maybe access matters because you need to see your PCP outside of work hours or at a location near your home or workplace. Or, if you’re considering a family PCP, you should find out if they see all ages.

The most important factor in choosing a PCP, however, is how comfortable you are trusting them with your care. Can you share openly with them? Do you feel cared for as a whole person and an active partner in your healthcare decisions?  PCPs are expertly trained professionals; sometimes it just comes down to how you feel about the relationship.

How a PCP relationship can help you live a healthier life 

Preventive care and screening: Preventive care is critical to your care. Your PCP will guide you in receiving the proper preventative care for early detection. This can help avoid potential health issues or catch them early when they are most treatable.

Coordinated care: Your PCP is the foundation of your primary care team. They will know when further care and treatment are needed and help guide you as you move through other areas of healthcare. Within Lee Health, your PCP will have full access to your medical information no matter what area of Lee Health you are receiving care, allowing them to understand your care on a comprehensive level. 

Ongoing doctor-patient relationship: You should have a trusting and open relationship with your PCP. Seeing the same team over time builds a relationship of trust and familiarity. 

Access and convenience: Expanded hours and convenient location are important to accessing your PCP.  PCPs work tirelessly to be available when you need them and have other trusted care team members available to care for your needs, such as advanced practice providers (APPs).  APPs are trained healthcare professionals who assess, treat, prescribe, and support your needs fully.  The Primary Care Team consists of many health professionals who coordinate to provide you with the very best primary care.

Prevent ER visits: Your PCP wants to help you avoid the emergency department when it is unnecessary. For conditions that are not emergent, you should call your PCP before going to the emergency room (ER).  They may have instructions or another option that could help you avoid the cost and inconvenience of an unnecessary ER visit.

Overall health: Your PCP is looking to maximize your health, giving you the very best quality of life possible by addressing acute needs, chronic conditions, and preventive care.   

The bottom line? Know what you are looking for, but the bottom line is how comfortable and open you feel with your PCP. Open and honest conversations lead to the best comprehensive care.

WATCH: One care team for the whole family

Not sure where to start?

It's important you find a Lee Physician Group doctor whose education, training, location, and medical interests match your health needs. 

You can get help finding the right doctor by calling 239-481-4111 for a physician referral.

To search for a doctor on your own, use the Lee Health doctor finder here.

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