One of the most important decisions you will make about your healthcare is selecting a primary care physician. If you have children and want to see the same doctor or go to the same doctor’s office, then you may want to choose a family medicine doctor as your primary. However, if you don’t have children, then you should consider an internal medicine doctor as your primary physician.
What Is Internal Medicine?
A doctor that practices internal medicine is trained to specifically treat adults. In fact, some people call them “adult pediatricians.” Internists provide care for acute and chronic conditions for older adolescents, adults, and elderly patients. If you are generally in good health, you may not need to choose an internist as your primary care physician or PCP. However, if you have chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, autoimmune diseases, then it would be better for you to select an internist.
While many internists are general practitioners and treat all adult ailments, others also have a specialty. Some of the specialties they can choose from while in medical school include:
- Allergy and immunology
- Adolescent Medicine
Internists are also trained in office gynecology, thus they can provide a variety of gynecological tests when needed.
Selecting Your PCP
If you decide to choose an internal medicine doctor to be your PCP, you will need to select someone who accepts your insurance plan. A good way to do this is to find the doctors who are close to where you live or work, to make going to your appointments more convenient for you. Once you have a list, look them up online and do some research.
You can usually find out where the doctors went to undergraduate and medical school and how long they’ve been in practice. You may be able to find out if there have been any complaints filed against them. Eliminate those doctors who you feel wouldn’t be a good fit for you. Then, make an appointment with those remaining on your list, so you can interview them and gauge how well you would be able to get along with them as your PCP.
It is important to choose a doctor you would be able to communicate with, especially if you do have a chronic medical condition. At the interview, which you may have to pay for as a consultation, discuss your medical history and the treatments you’ve had, and ask any questions you think are important. An interview can help you determine how well you and the doctor will get along and how open they are to discussing your condition. Select the one you liked best as your PCP.
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