Finding a Primary Care Doctor Who’s Right for You
You have a serious sinus infection and want immediate relief. On a Sunday afternoon, a visit to an urgent care center might be your best option. But for your long-term health, a good primary care physician focuses on the bigger picture of helping you to be well and stay well.
So, how do you find a primary health care provider who meets your physical, psychological and emotional health needs?
“When it comes to your health, you want someone who knows you, who’s familiar with your health and whose opinion you can trust,” says Lauren Hruszkewycz, MD, family practitioner withTriHealth's Health First Physicians — Mason. “A primary care physician can focus on optimizing your health, whether it’s noticing weight increase or addressing signs of pre-diabetes. Preventive care is key.”
Dr. Hruszkewycz firmly believes that whomever you choose for a primary care doctor can help add years and quality to your life. “An annual physical and routine lab work can help us catch things much earlier. High cholesterol or high blood pressure might not make you feel bad, but monitoring those and taking action before you have a heart attack or stroke is extremely important.”
There are two steps to the search process: 1) finding a well-qualified physician who is convenient and available and 2) finding a doctor who understands you and meets your unique needs.
Finding a Doctor
Narrow your search for a doctor with these tips:
1. Identify your options
Find out which doctors are in your health plan’s network and which of those are accepting new patients. Consider office locations and hours that are convenient to your home or work. TriHealth offers an online searchable listing of physicians or you can find one in your community by calling 513 569 5400.
2. Ask family and friends
Word of mouth is often the most reliable way to find a quality doctor. Dr. Hruszkewycz cautions that online ratings often reflect opinions of very happy or very unhappy patients and don’t always accurately represent a doctor’s abilities or interpersonal skills.
3. Decide if you are looking for a doctor for the whole family, yourself or a child
Dr. Hruszkewycz and other family practitioners see individuals and families through the whole spectrum of life, from birth through death. Internal medicine specialists typically focus on patients age 18 and over and pediatricians care for patients from birth through teen years.
4. Look at physician practice websites or call the doctor’s office
A practice’s website can tell you about the doctors’ training, philosophy of care and specialized interests. It also offers practical information about hours and location. You can also call office staff to inquire about a doctor’s schedule and after-hours policies.
Finding the Doctor Who's Right for You
“Ultimately, you want a good listener with a good personality fit whose schedule works for you,” Dr. Hruskzewycz says.
Points to consider as you look for a person with whom to build rapport and trust include:
- Ask about the doctor’s philosophy of care and special interests. For example, Dr. Hruszkewycz offers general care but has special interests in preventive care, diabetes, depression and natural family planning.
- Is the doctor focused on you and listening closely to what you say?
- Do you feel comfortable talking honestly with the doctor about your health concerns and your goals?
- Do you and the doctor have mutual respect for each other’s opinions?
- Will the doctor oversee your care even if you need to see another specialist?
It may take more than one visit to determine if you have a good fit with a particular doctor. If you don’t feel comfortable after a few visits, you may want to look elsewhere.
Dr. Hruskzewycz notes, “People are busy and on the move, but finding the right doctor is about building a relationship over time.”
Last Updated: January 18, 2018