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Tips for Selecting a Health Care Provider

Choosing the right doctor for you is an important and, ultimately, very personal decision.  While there is no one right way to choose the right provider for you, there are few simple tips you should consider as you learn about our many doctors and providers.

We’ll talk about choosing two kinds of doctors: Primary Care Providers (PCP) and Specialists (for example, a cardiologist for your heart or a dermatologist for skin).  This is not a definitive list of questions or suggestions; it’s merely a way for you to think about how you select a physician.

Many people rely on their friends and family for recommendations in selecting a doctor.  While this is a great way to find a doctor, sometimes it’s not practical for some people.  Or, maybe you’re new to the area and you just need some help orienting and exploring who is available. We’re here to help.

Primary care provider (PCP)

Your PCP can be a family medicine doctor, a pediatrician, an internist, an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN), a Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Physician’s Assistant (PA) in one of these specialties.

Specialty care providers

A specialist is a doctor who has additional training and board certification in particular area of medicine.  For example, a plastic surgeon has specialized training in repairing an reconstructing skin and other cosmetic issues related to disease or injury.

What to consider

The first thing to consider is if a provider accepts your insurance.  If you have a specific question about a specific provider, it’s best to contact your insurance carrier and see if that provider is covered. 

Another thing to consider, especially with a PCP, is how convenient and accessible is the provider.  You might want to call and talk to the provider’s office or see if the provider has a video describing his or her philosophy on treatment and getting a glimpse at their personality.

Next, you might want to consider several of the following questions:

  • Is the provider board certified in the area of expertise for which I am seeking treatment?
  • Does the provider have advanced fellowship or other training or experience in the specialty I need?
  • Is the provider someone I can see myself relating to?
  • Is the provider convenient to where I work or live?
  • How involved in the provider in managing your care?
  • Is the provider fluent in my native or preferred language?

Some people like to consider where a provider trained or if the provider has published on a medical topic.  Other people like to consider a doctor who is the same gender as they are. Whatever is important to you, we have a rich database of information on our providers.

As you can see there are many criteria you can use to evaluate if a provider is the right one for you. And, if you’re stuck or you just want to get some additional questions answered, you can always call MUSC Health Connection at 843-792-1414 to speak with one of our representatives who can help you choose.

Good luck exploring our physician and provider directory!  We hope you’ll find one of our MUSC Health providers and you too can see how, here at MUSC Health, we’re changing what’s possible!