You don’t have to be sick to have a family doctor. Having a primary care provider (PCP) or health care practitioner, as they are also called, is a good go-to person for your non-emergency situations. It is not uncommon for people to have a PCP that they rely on for many years.
When selecting a health care practitioner, it is important to understand what their role will be in relation to you. Your PCP doctor will:
Pediatrician: Most families begin with pediatricians. Their specialty is for children of all ages, including newborns and adolescents.
Obstetricians/gynecologists: Many women have a trusted OB/GYN or obstetricians/gynecologists doctor that they visit for female issues, including pregnancy.
Family practitioners: This may be the most sought out type of “general” family doctor. A family practitioner is knowledgeable on a wide scale of medical concerns. They are trained to treat people of all ages including children and adults. In some cases, their training may even include minor surgery and obstetrics.
Nurse practitioners (NP) and physician assistants (PA): Found in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and physician offices, this category of qualified health care professional provides a range of services similar to those of a doctor. These services can include: scheduling and interpreting diagnostic tests, writing medical prescriptions, performing physical exams, following up on chronic medical conditions, and conducting patient histories.
Internists: Doctors who have completed a residency, and are trained in a wide range of health care conditions that involve adults.
Did you know most insurance providers limit the type of health care practitioner you can choose? When making your PCP decision, read your current health insurance plan to make certain you will be covered in the event you use the services of your newly chosen PCP. Other things to consider when choosing a doctor are: