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Your new primary care physician

Prepare for your first visit with these tips

At your first appointment with your new doctor, plan to tell him or her about your family health history, stressful factors in your life, illnesses you've had, and any personal health-related habits. This is very important information for your doctor to know and, since it will all be confidential, you can be completely open with him or her.

Prepare for your appointment by printing and filling out a patient safety checklist (PDF).

Questions for a routine health visit

HAP recommends that each member of the family schedule regular preventive-care appointments or "health visits," to help prevent future health problems. Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • What will your doctor check for at each health visit?
  • What procedures will be performed routinely and why? Depending on your age and medical condition, the visit could include anything from basic childhood immunizations, to a routine blood pressure or cholesterol check, to counseling for tobacco and alcohol use.
  • What kind of screening tests (such as a mammogram to screen for breast cancer) do you need? How often do you need them, and why? How and when will the test results be reported back to you? What can you expect if the test detects a possible problem?
  • How does your health on this visit compare with previous visits? If the doctor mentions any changes, be sure to ask why these may have occurred and if anything should be done about them.

Before your visit, take a moment to write down any questions you want to ask your doctor (PDF).

Building a relationship with your PCP

If this doctor is someone you can communicate with easily, and whom you believe you could work with whether you’re healthy or sick, stick with him or her. That's how you build a trusting relationship. Get more tips on how to communicate with your doctor.