Primary Care

Why Do You Need a Primary Care Provider?

One of the best ways to maintain your health is to start seeing a primary care provider. This physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant focuses on preventative care and maintaining your overall health, as well as the treatment of injury and illness.

Through regular exams, over time, your provider gets to know your medical history and understands what's important to you. When you build a long-term relationship with a trusted provider, you become more comfortable talking about your health needs.

Your provider can also monitor health markers, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Knowing when key indicators change, and treating them sooner rather than later, can prevent more serious disease or chronic illness.

When appropriate, your primary provider can refer you to specialists who meet your specific needs. Your primary can also prepare you for that appointment, so time spent with the specialist is focused and productive.

Together, you and your provider can work as a team to maximize your health and well-being.

What types of Providers are considered Primary Care?

Primary care practitioners can be Medical Doctors (MD), Doctors of Osteopathy (DO), Nurse Practitioners (NP), or Physician Assistants (PA), and have a focus in one of the following areas:

  • Family Practitioners - Family practice providers are able to treat patients of all ages, from newborns to elderly. They are generalists who can treat a wide variety of conditions.
  • Internists - Internal Medicine physicians typically treat adults and specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and management of disease and chronic conditions.
  • Pediatricians - Providers who specialize in the care of children up to 18 years of age.

How to pick a primary care provider?

First, find out if your insurance requires a primary doctor and if the primary you want participates in your medical insurance plan.

Ask your friends and co-workers for referrals

Ask the colleagues or patients of the provider you would like to start seeing how they feel about the provider.

Ask your current physician for a referral if you are moving to a new area

Ask for referrals through a health care system. Call Health on Demand for a list of providers accepting new patients, and for guidance in making a choice

What factors should you consider?

Your current health needs

  • does the provider focus on disease management, wellness or prevention
  • does the provider pursue conservative or aggressive treatments 
  • does the provider order lots of tests
  • does the provider work with specialists

Do you prefer a male or female?

Does the provider's communication style work for you?

Is the office staff friendly and are the office hours convenient?

Is the office located near your home or would it be more convenient if the office was near where you work?

What hospital does the provider use?

Which providers cover for yours if he or she is not available?

Is there information about the provider's background and training online?

Is the provider board certified? This means they have completed training in a specialty and passed an exam that assesses their knowledge and skill in a particular area.

What is the next step?

Schedule an appointment with your top choice to go over your medical history, discuss your health concerns and determine if it's a good fit. Fill out the form below to get connected to the Arnot Health primary care team, and to schedule an appointment.