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3 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHILE LOOKING FOR A PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN

Trust, confidence and transparent two-way communication are the three key features of every doctor-patient relationship! It is essential to have a general physician or a family doctor visit for regular check-ups or sudden sickness. Your family doctor is someone you can trust with your and your family’s health and well being and medical history and […]

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Trust, confidence and transparent two-way communication are the three key features of every doctor-patient relationship!

It is essential to have a general physician or a family doctor visit for regular check-ups or sudden sickness. Your family doctor is someone you can trust with your and your family’s health and well being and medical history and concerns.

If you don’t have a primary physician already or you’ve recently moved to a new city and are looking for a primary care physician at a walk-in clinic near you, here are three things to take under consideration:

1.     The qualifications and experience of the doctor:

The minimum requirement to be qualified as a primary physician is to complete medical school, an internship and residency in their area of specialization, like primary care. Some physicians continue to fellowship, which is another period of specialized medical training and research.

In addition to those, professional experience and areas of interest can provide an idea about their expertise.

2.     Locality, convenience, and comfort:

For convenience, the location of your primary care physician should be near you!

This location makes it convenient for you to visit the physician for regular check-ups. It is also important that you can see the doctor even for last-minute appointments in emergency and sudden sickness were to arise.  Some physicians are present for last-minute appointments, while others have a team of doctors that handle such situations. Ask them about on-call services, like who answers their phones? Is it nurses or assistants that return the calls, or does the physician address your questions and concerns himself via telephone or email?

You can also ask the doctor regarding who covers for them during after-hours and vacations. If there is no walk-in or on-call service after office hours, emergency care could be the only option.

It would be nice to contemplate what other kinds of doctors you might need to see in the future and which ones are available at the same walk-in clinic as the primary care physician you are considering. A well-established walk-in clinic should have a pediatrician, an optometrist and one or more primary/family physicians.

For instance, Calgary has a chain of well-established walk-in clinics with family doctors, an optometrist, and a dermatologist specializing in Botox and injectable dermal fillers. The medicare centre is a chain of four reputable walk-in clinics in the Calgary area that provide physical examinations, WCB and mental wellbeing services. It serves as your one-stop for all immediate medical services and more! These walk-in Clinics in Calgary are open on Sundays, even during the widespread pandemic, to provide on-going medical services to their communities.

3.     Accredited hospitals that the doctor uses:

As comfortable as you are with your family doctor or primary physician and his staff, you want to make sure you will be just as comfortable with their affiliated hospitals and the other care providers.

What happens if you need surgery or hospitalization?

You need to ask your doctor the procedure for getting admitted to a hospital. Do they work with particular hospitals or all hospitals in town?  Make sure the hospital accredited with your doctor is near you and affordable. Also, have an insurance check to verify if your insurance is covering that specific facility.

Some other essential questions to ask:

  • Is the doctor taking new patients?
  • Is the doctor a preferred provider under my insurance plan?
  • Does the doctor accept Medicare or other insurance and provide direct billing?
  • Do they refer to their network of specialists, such as reputable eye doctors, dermatologists, cardiologists, podiatrists, psychiatrists and family counsellors, etc.?
  • How are their timings, availabilities and provision of services affected due to COVID19?

Having a primary physician aware of your medical history is imperative!

Your primary care provider (PCP) is your partner in ensuring that you and your family are in the best health possible. The above tips and questions should help you find a trustable physician to serve your immediate and long term medical needs.

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