Do You Have a PCP?

Dr. David TsaiPost by David Tsai, M.D. of Rex Primary Care of Holly Springs. Dr. Tsai is a physician with Rex Primary Care of Holly Springs with a focus on primary care and sports medicine.

Do you currently have a primary care provider (PCP) that you would recommend to a friend? Feeling comfortable and confident with your healthcare provider is an important foundation for the health of you and your family.

PCP’s are most often physicians, but may be a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. They are often the point person for your non-emergent healthcare needs.

Your PCP’s role is to:

  • Provide preventive care, focusing on the main causes of death (ie. heart disease and cancer)
  • Diagnose and treat common medical conditions
  • Evaluate the urgency of your concerns and direct you to the best place for treatment
  • Assess the need for appropriate tests and specialist referrals

You can choose from several different types of PCP’s:

  • Family physicians – treat children and adults of all ages and may include obstetrics and minor surgery.
  • Pediatricians – provide the care of newborns, infants, children and adolescents.
  • Internists – treat adults of all ages for many different medical conditions
  • Obstetricians/gynecologists – serve as a PCP for women, particularly those of childbearing age
  • Nurse practitioners (NP) and physician assistants (PA) – In providing care, these “physician extenders” consult with their supervising physicians

How to choose a Primary Care Provider:

North Carolina Medical Board – provides information about physicians training and any complaints filed against them
Health Insurance Company – provides physicians who have been approved by their credentialing process
Hospital and other such websites provide information on their doctors
Word of mouth/Referrals from friends or family – Trust their opinions as recommendations, but remember that their advice is personalized to their needs (which maybe different than yours)
Provider qualities – Do they share the same communication style?
Do they focus on treatment, wellness or both?
Is there a shared view of a patient-doctor partnership?

Other factors to consider:

  • Care team – Is the office staff friendly and helpful?
  • Office hours – Are they convenient to your schedule?
  • Ancillary services – Are labs and diagnostic tests located on-site or nearby?
  • Specialty services – Are specialists that fit your needs on-site or nearby?