Tip for Choosing a Medical Home
Finding a medical home with a primary care provider is important. Your primary care doctor is your main healthcare resource in non-emergency situations. The doctor’s role is to …
• Provide preventive care and teach healthy lifestyle choices
• Identify and treat common medical conditions
• Assess the urgency of your medical problems and direct you to the best place for that care
• Make referrals to medical specialists when necessary
If you don’t have a primary care physician, please refer to the checklist below when selecting one:
1. Is the physician board certified?
2. Does the office use electronic medical records so that your health information can be accessed quickly and securely?
3. What hospital affiliations does the doctor have?
4. Is the doctor active in any medical societies or associations?
5. Is the physician covered by your medical insurance?
6. If you need to be treated for a specific condition, find out if the physician is specialized in that area
You also need to decide what type of physician you would like to see. Descriptions for family medicine (also called family practice), internal medicine and internal medicine-pediatrics follow.
Family medicine physicians typically complete a three-year Family Medicine residency after medical school. They receive broad training so that they can provide primary care to all ages, ranging from infants to the elderly.
General internists undertake a three-year residency in Internal Medicine. Their primary focus is on in-depth diagnosis and treatment of adults. They can provide primary care for adults similar to a family medicine physician. They also can work in acute care settings in a hospital.
Internal Medicine-Pediatrics doctors combine the skills of pediatricians and internists. This description may seem similar to family medicine but, while some overlap exists, the training is significantly different. A four-year residency contains two years of formal training in Internal Medicine and two in Pediatrics. Internal Medicine-Pediatric residency graduates can take medical boards in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. They also are uniquely adept at treating adults who have diseases of childhood.
If you’re looking for a doctor, try University Medical Group (UMG), the multispecialty physician group practice of Greenville Health System (GHS). UMG primary care practices are located throughout upstate South Carolina, offering convenient access to primary care services.
For a complete list of GHS’ primary and specialty care physicians, please visit ghs.org/mydoctor or call 1-877-GHS-INFO (477-4636).