What is a P.C.P.?
Why you should have a P.C.P.
Using the car metaphor the best time to know a mechanic is not when something is wrong with your car but before. When you have one car you want to take your vehicle to someone that you trust, someone that you know, and someone who knows just how important your one vehicle is to you. In my life I try to be proactive as much as possible vs reactive. When you check engine light is on and the car is making a clunking sound and stalling periodically you don't want to go interviewing mechanics to fix the problem. You want to know exactly who to go to and what to expect. The same can be said for your health.
I recommend that you consider getting a provider if you don't have one. If you haven't seen your provider in >1 year now's the time to reconnect. My healthiest patient's are always encouraged to follow up with me yearly. If they are still healthy it's a quick visit to just make sure they are on track. Your yearly physical is really a time for us providers to make sure everything is going okay with you routine wise. It is not the time to bring up everything that you have felt throughout the course of the year--that's what a sick visit is for.
Sick visits are visits you make to your provider to discuss problems that you have been experiencing to determine what needs to be done to address them if anything at all.
Follow up visits are visits to follow up on chronic medical issues if you have any such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, hypothyroidism, etc that need periodic monitoring to make sure that your chronic medical issues are stable and well managed.
But I digress...the key take away point here is that having someone that you know and trust before a problem possibly arises is always better than meeting someone in the midst of an ongoing problem. So take a proactive tip from a proactive person (most times) and get a PCP if you don't already have one.
How to find a PCP.
I try to tell all my patients when they first meet me that I may not be their cup of tea. Not every provider is the same and not every provider will fit for every patient. I am FAR from perfect. As a provider my goal is that you find a physician you feel comfortable with to establish a longterm relationship with. If it's not me but someone else in my practice that's fine. I'll still say "Hi" and treat you with respect if you leave my practice because my hope for everyone is the best care for them.
I say this to say that if you don't like one provider at a practice that doesn't mean that the other providers are off limits. Shop around you might find someone else there that you to mesh with.
Another way to find a PCP is to let your fingers and google do the walking. This is a risky move because there are some great providers with some lousy scores (stars) all because patient's who are satisfied and happy do not think to write good reviews. Its just like at restaurants--ask a manager if they hear more complaints or compliments about their food, service, or establishment and you are likely to find they hear more complaints which is why I always (before COVID) makes sure when I receive excellent service to ask for a manager. I feel back for the server because they tend to panic a bit but I always try to assure them that its a good thing but it still puts them on edge until after I speak with the manager who confirms that I was only complementary. I digress again...(I do that a lot)...using Google for reviews can be helpful but beware that if you see bad reviews read what the comments were and what the problem was--staffing issues don't necessarily reflect on the providers ability or bedside manner. So keep that in mind.
Another resource is your insurance company to see who is in network. Starting their coupled with an on-line search is a resource that saves the hassle of finding out too late that a provider is not covered by your insurance. Don't forget you can "interview" providers. Yes you will be "doctor shopping" and yes you will have to fill out a lot of forms over and over again, and yes there will be a copay likely but it is a way to meet a provider in person and get a feel for their style of practice and bedside manner.
Clinic moves at a fast pace. Every month my goal is to feature a topic that came up during my clinic or to discuss health topics that you are concerned about.
Disclaimer: I am a physician, but I am not your physician. The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for medical advice. This website does not create an physician-patient relationship. The author is not liable for any illnesses, losses or damages related to actions of failure to act related to the content in this website. If you need specific medical advice, consult with your healthcare provider.