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Choosing a Primary Care Physician (MD/DO/CNP)

Choosing a Primary Care Physician (PCP) takes effort. It is important to remember that your PCP works for you. Make sure you take the time to make the best choice that you can. 

Here are some things you can look for to help you make a choice that you are happy with:

Is your PCP Board Certified?

Board certification lets you know that your doctor has completed a minimal requirement of education and training.

Search for a specific Medical Doctor (MD) or Physician Assistant (PA) here: The Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine

Search for a specific Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) here: The Maine Board of Osteopathic Licensure

Search for an advanced practitioner in Nursing (CNP, CRNA, etc.) here: Maine Board of Nursing.

You can visit the The Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine or the Maine Board of Osteopathic Licensure to see if there have been any problems with your doctor in Maine.

Does your PCP use Electronic Medical Records?

Look for offices that use a patient registry or electronic medical record (EMR’s).  These are computer systems that store your medical records. They allow your PCP providers to quickly and easily search your records for information. Often, prescriptions are sent by computer or printed rather than hand written. Offices with EMR’s may be better organized and more thorough than those without them. Remember though, these systems are expensive and many physicians in small rural practices can not afford the electronic technology.

Does your PCP treat you as a partner in your health care?

You should expect your Doctor to be very clear in your own role in your health.  Your PCP should work with you to make sure you understand all your options when deciding on treatments. Your PCP should work with you to develop healthy behaviors. You can take much better care of yourself if you understand as much as possible about maintaining your health.

Does your PCP use a Team?

Often, physician’s offices will have physician extenders such as nurses and physician assistants who are part of the team that cares for you. Such teams can be better for your care if they have more time to spend with you. Techniques such a Nurse Lines and email can provide timely and effective help as a part of your health care.

What do the people you trust say?

You can ask friends about the doctor you are considering. Your friends can tell you about their experiences.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has an excellent web site to guide you in decision making about your health care.

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