Your choice of a primary care physician is an important one, but many people make this decision hastily or fail to conduct any research whatsoever. This decision should be made only after considering your current and projected health status, your location, and your level of comfort with the physician and their staff.
Let's look at the four most important elements to consider when seeking out the right primary care physician to fit your needs. Ideally, this physician will be your go-to source for medical treatment, preventive care, and specialist referrals for the foreseeable future, so take your time and choose wisely.
- Assess Your Options "In-Network": As you begin your search, you'll want to make sure that you're looking in the right place, which means that you should only be reviewing doctors who are "in-network" based on your insurance plan. By sticking to physicians who are within your network, you can avoid unexpected fees and out-of-pocket costs. Find out if your physician is in the Canopy Health network though our Doctors and Services Search.
- Area of Medical Expertise: Your doctor's expertise should align with your health needs. Generally speaking, there are four types of primary care physicians to choose from:
- Family Practice doctors are trained to take care of patients of all ages and to treat a variety of conditions.
- Internal Medicine physicians are those who specialize in preventing, diagnosing, and treating chronic conditions and disease, usually in adults.
- General Practitioners are physicians or osteopaths (DO) who successfully completed their medical training and are licensed to provide care as generalists.
- Pediatricians are family doctors who deal exclusively with infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents.
- Referrals and Degree of Comfort: Your friends, family members, and other medical providers you know can all be great resources when choosing a new primary care physician. Your loved ones can recommend someone with whom they've had a lengthy and positive relationship, and those in the medical field can make suggestions based on their professional confidence in a colleague. Once you have a few candidates in mind, call their offices to schedule appointments in which you can sit down to discuss their medical philosophy and gauge their personalities and your shared interests. This way you can determine your level of comfort right off the bat and be more confident in your choice.
- Convenience and Logistics: The last two important factors you should consider when weighing your options is your proximity to your doctor of choice as well as their office hours. You'll want to pick a doctor who will be available when you need them and who is located close to your home, work, and your children's school (if applicable). Additionally, as mentioned above, you should take the time to meet them in-person to ensure that there aren't any language barriers and that information will be communicated easily and directly.
Explore Canopy Health's Expansive Network
At Canopy Health, we are proud to say that our growing network consists of narly 5,000 physicians working at 18 hospitals and dozens of outpatient facilities across eight Bay Area counties. Our primary care physicians are some of the most skilled, decorated, reputable, and highly educated in the entire state of California, and we are confident that they can provide you with the level of care that you expect and deserve.