facebook pixel 3 Tips for Choosing a Primary Care Doctor
Site Search
< Blog Home < Healthcare and Insurance Basics

3 Tips for Choosing a Primary Care Doctor

When it’s time to find a primary care doctor, how do you know which type of doctor you should be searching for? We’ll break it down and give you our top three tips on finding a doctor who can help keep you healthy and treat you when you’re sick.

Woman and doctor, tips for finding a Primary Care Doctor

A primary care doctor or Primary Care Physician (PCP) is a doctor who sees you for common medical problems, performs routine exams, and helps prevent or treat illness. Seeing the same doctor for most visits will help you establish a relationship that can improve your care—your primary care doctor will get to know you and your specific health needs, and you’ll have somewhere to go when you are sick.

But how do you choose a primary care doctor or PCP? And which type of doctors are PCPs, anyway? Consider these three factors when you’re ready to choose a primary care doctor for yourself or your family:

1. Find the best fit

  • Think about which type of doctor is best for your needs—there are four main types of primary care doctors, and choosing the right one can depend on your age, gender, and health concerns:
  • Family practice doctors – A family medicine doctor, also known as a general practitioner, can provide comprehensive medical care for people of all ages. If you want a one-stop-shop for the whole family, this can be a great option. These providers completed their residency in family medicine and can provide everything from prescriptions to Pap smears.
  • Internal medicine doctors – A doctor who treats only adults, internal medicine physicians handle a broad range of illnesses and are equally qualified to provide preventive care. These providers dedicated much of their training to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of adult diseases.
  • Pediatricians – If you have a child or family member under 18, you’ll want to seek a pediatrician. These doctors specialize in childhood illnesses and preventive care for kids, such as immunizations and wellness checks.
  • Obstetricians and Gynecologists (OB/GYNs) – Some women choose an OB/GYN as a primary care doctor as opposed to a family practice physician.  For many women, this is a great option to get all the care they need in one place.

It’s also worth considering seeing a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner. These professionals can provide primary care services and prescriptions, and their services generally cost less than seeing a certified M.D.

Related: See a Provider Online Using Connect Care

2. Check with your health insurance plan

Whether you use a website search or call a service like SelectHealth Member Advocates, it pays to choose a doctor who is in your network. Use your ID card to identify your network name and consider the types described above to narrow down your options. Seeing a doctor who participates on your health plan (known as being “in-network”) will make sure you get the best price and coverage for any care you receive.

3. Convenience is key

Choose a doctor who is located near your home or office. By keeping it close to home, you’ll find it more convenient to make appointments, and you’ll be less likely to miss them or be late. Many people opt for a doctor near their workplace, so they can see a doctor on their lunch hour—but that may not be as helpful when you are home sick!

Related: Tools and Resources You'll Need as a SelectHealth Member

At SelectHealth, we get a lot of questions about choosing providers, and there’s more to explore on this topic, from choosing a doctor you can trust to finding the right specialist. Follow us on social media and let us know if you’d like to learn more about this topic.

Already a member? Learn more about choosing the right type of care.



SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

You May Also Like...

Healthy Living

7 Small Changes That Lead to Lasting Healthy Habits

These small changes might lead to better health.

Nutrition and Diet

Flourless Pumpkin Bread

This version of pumpkin bread only requires 6 ingredients—it’s made without flour and naturally sweetened with maple syrup.

In the Community

Is Your Organization Keeping Utah Healthy? Apply for Our Award

Each year, we recognize 20 organizations that are making a healthy difference in Utah to help support their missions.


What Playing Football Taught Me about Business

Here’s how my passion for playing football has helped me off the field.

Related Articles

Related Articles

Healthcare and Insurance Basics

See a Provider Online Using Connect Care

Have a sore throat and don’t feel like driving to the doctor or sitting in a waiting room? Access convenient, high-quality care right from the comfort of your own home.

Healthcare and Insurance Basics

Now That You’re Enrolled, What Happens Next?

As a new member of SelectHealth, you may have some questions about what to expect now that you’re insured.

Healthcare and Insurance Basics

General Rules for all Contests

Healthcare and Insurance Basics

Tips for a Better Trip to the Pharmacy

Become a pharmacy patient pro by following these simple guidelines at the pharmacy.

Post Author

Jordan Gaddis

Jordan is an accomplished copywriter and editor with ten years' experience in marketing and communications. She loves reading and writing, she is a self-proclaimed word and grammar nerd, and she loves to bake, cook, hike, and practice yoga.