Written by Lori Cannon, MSN, RN
At NorthLakes Community Clinic, we believe primary care is a critical component to ensuring long-term health. One of the easiest ways to receive primary care is by establishing a primary care provider.
A primary care provider, often shortened to PCP, is a doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner who is your main healthcare provider. This is the person you would see for a physical or wellness check, when you have a sore throat or other acute problem that is not an emergency, or to help you manage a chronic illness like diabetes. They can provide preventative care as well as diagnose and treat common medical conditions. When you need more specialized care, a primary care provider will make a referral and follow up to make sure that you get the care you need.
Selecting a primary care provider who fits your needs allows you to build a long-term relationship and not only helps you stay healthy, but helps your provider give you better care. While it can feel overwhelming to try to find a provider, the National Institutes of Health recommend thinking about the following questions when considering establishing care with a provider:
- Is the office staff friendly and helpful? Is the office good about returning calls?
- Are the office hours convenient to your schedule?
- How easy is it to reach the provider? Does the provider use email?
- Do you prefer a provider whose communication style is friendly and warm, or more formal?
- Do you prefer a provider focused on disease treatment, or wellness and prevention?
- Does the provider have a conservative or aggressive approach to treatment?
- Does the provider order a lot of tests?
- Does the provider refer to other specialists frequently or infrequently?
- What do colleagues and patients say about the provider?
- Does the provider invite you to be involved in your care? Does the provider view your patient-doctor relationship as a true partnership? (MedlinePlus)
It’s important to have a provider you can trust. By selecting a primary care provider who is a good fit for you and your needs, you will set yourself up for a healthier future and a better healthcare experience.
We currently have primary medical care providers at our clinics in Ashland, Hayward, Hurley, Iron River, Lakewood, Minong and White Lake. If you are interested in establishing a primary care provider at any of these clinics, please give us a call at 888.834.4551 today. If you already have a primary medical provider established elsewhere, be sure to share that information with our front desk so we can be sure to share information with them as needed.
Lori Cannon is a RN who works on clinical processes around integration, care coordination and building a patient-centered medical home.