Tips for choosing a primary care provider

In health care, it's not who you know that matters, but who knows you. And the better your primary care provider gets to know you, the better care he or she can provide.

However, choosing a primary care provider can be overwhelming. Where do you start? Which doctor is right for you? And how do you change doctors if it's just not working out? Developing and maintaining a strong relationship with your primary care provider is so important to your overall health that going through this process is well worth the effort. Below you will find a few helpful tips to ease this process.

  • Establish your priorities — What's most important to you?  Do you want details or do you prefer a simple recommendation? Do you care if your doctor is male or female? More experienced or on the cutting edge of new treatments and technologies? Always on time or always willing to take as much time as necessary? Our worksheet can help you with this. 
  • Get recommendations — Talk with family and friends to see they recommend. If they love their doctor, find out why. Do their reasons match your priorities?
  • Schedule a visit when you need one — If you need care before your Annual Preventive Office Visit,  call your preferred primary care clinic for immediate assistance.  A few months before you’re due for your annual preventive visit, call your preferred primary care clinic for an appointment. This is a good time to tell the clinic which primary care provider you’d like to see.
The key to choosing the right provider is a good relationship. It really comes down to finding someone whose personality is compatible with yours. You may end up changing doctors if you just don't click. Don't feel guilty about changing or questioning. Find someone you trust.

Additional tips

  • Visit our online provider directory to search by ZIP code, medical specialty or clinic location
  • Use our worksheet to help you narrow down your priorities
  • Contact Dean on Call and ask for help in choosing your primary care physician.
Primary care physicians specialize in different areas, and each specialty has its own benefits. A basic summary might help you narrow your search:
  • Family Medicine (with or without Obstetrics) focuses on health care for individuals and families of all ages.  This includes routine and preventive care, treatment of acute and chronic illness, and coordination of your overall care. Some Family Medicine doctors also include Obstetrics and care for women during pregnancy and childbirth.​
  • Internal Medicine focuses on adult patients and the aging process. Internists generally see patients over 18 years old. They also frequently care for patients with multiple ongoing health conditions. They provide preventative care, age-related screenings and health guidance.​
  • Pediatrics is a specialty that treats children from birth to their late teens. While pediatricians see healthy children for primary care, they also help children who have special or difficult health conditions. Pediatricians provide ongoing screenings, immunizations and preventative care throughout childhood.
A primary care physician is a doctor who is trained to provide a wide range of preventative and long-term healthcare services. Typically, primary care is separated into Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics.

At Dean Medical Group our care team—consisting of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses and other patient care staff—are well suited for people who want a long-term relationship.

Some advantages of having an established primary care physician include:
  • Staying healthier because of regular checkups,immunizations and screenings
  • Management and coordination of all your healthcare needs
  • Easy access for immediate care needs

Updated 6/5/18