How to Get the Most Out of a Primary Care Visit

Healthy Living

Each visit with your primary care physician (PCP) is more than just a wellness checkup. It’s a chance to explore opportunities to improve your overall health, discuss goals, learn about prevention, and get your questions answered. Next time you meet with a PCP, consider the following to get the most out of your visit.

Find a PCP you’re compatible with

The best way to get the most benefit from a primary care relationship is to find the right PCP for you. Someone who matches your communication style and health care outlooks. Someone who tailors their approach to suit your needs. The more comfortable you feel with your PCP, the more you’ll open up about concerns you’re having, which will lead to better health care outcomes. Finding the right doctor for you is easy — just take MyHealthKC’s matching survey and discover a list of compatible PCPs in your area.

Discuss your symptoms and concerns — all of them

As awkward as it can be to open up about private matters affecting your health, your PCP can only help you if they know what’s going on. Don’t think your PCP is only interested in your physical symptoms — understanding what is impacting you emotionally is also helpful for your PCP in determining the underlying causes of your symptoms (or suggesting preventive care that could benefit you). The more your PCP understands about your lifestyle and experiences, the more accurately he or she can diagnose you and find opportunities to improve your health.

Review any medication you’re taking

From natural supplements to prescriptions from specialists, there can be a lot to keep track of when it comes to medication. If you have started taking new medication or supplements since your last visit, it’s a good idea to ask your PCP to review the medications you’re taking and see if there are any redundancies or conflicts. This is also a good time to discuss any side effects you’re experiencing and ask your PCP about discontinuing any medication you don’t feel is benefitting you.

Talk about your health goals

A good PCP will be happy to spend time talking with you about your health goals - in fact, plenty of PCPs say this is one of the aspects they love most about their job. Your PCP is an excellent resource for learning about what you can do to achieve your goals, from lifestyle habits to nutrition and exercise. Whatever it is you want to achieve, this is the time to get personalized recommendations straight from an expert.

Discuss preventive care opportunities

Whether you have a family history or are simply looking to be proactive about your health, it’s a good idea to ask your PCP about preventive care opportunities. Preventive care is the most effective way to reduce your overall health care costs by preventing major health issues before they happen.

While it’s not necessary to cover all of these points each time you visit with your PCP, viewing your wellness visits as more than just checkups will help you get the most out of your primary care visit. If you don’t have a PCP yet or are looking to find a better fit, MyHealthKC’s doctor-matching survey will help you find the right PCP for you.