A primary care provider speaking with a smiling patient


How to choose a primary care provider

A primary care provider is a go-to expert who manages your overall health. Everyone should have one, but many people don’t for various reasons.

Whether you’ve moved to a new city, have a new insurance plan or have a busy schedule, it’s important to prioritize your health needs.

Keep reading to learn how to find the right primary care provider for you.

Learn about your primary care team

Your primary care team is a reliable first contact for care. Your team could be led by a physician, a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner. They promote your wellness and guide your care at every step. They can make primary care easier with access to multispecialty expertise, sometimes in the same place.

They work together to prevent, diagnose and treat common illnesses and injuries. Your primary care team also manages long-term health conditions and prescribes medicines as needed.

Ensure they can support your unique needs

Everyone has individual health needs, which evolve as you age. Whether it’s routine, preventive, or for an unexpected illness, choosing the right primary care provider is worth the time and effort to protect your health. A primary care provider’s role is to create a health care plan for your unique needs.

Provider profiles make it easier to quickly learn about:

  • specialties
  • credentials
  • years of experience
  • availability
  • languages spoken
  • health insurance plans accepted

Your story matters

Find a provider who values getting to know you as a person. At Allina Health, you can create a personalized profile in PatientWisdom, an easy-to-use platform that helps you share your story and what’s important to you.

Questions to ask

Asking the right questions can help you find primary care that fits your life.

When you search for a primary care provider, ask yourself:

Where are they located?

You can save time by choosing a primary care provider near where you live or work. You may also want to consider their office hours to ensure you can get care on your schedule.  

Do they accept your health insurance plan?

Most private and government health insurance plans, like Medicaid and Medicare, provide 100% coverage for preventive care like wellness exams, immunizations and cancer screenings. 

Depending on your benefit plan, you may pay a share of the cost for a primary care provider to diagnose or treat you for an illness or injury. It’s a good idea to contact your health insurance company before your primary care visit to learn what’s covered under your benefit plan.

Are they board-certified?

Many primary care providers are certified by a medical board. Board-certified providers have passed a specialty exam and completed continuing education to maintain their certification. Requirements vary by specialty board. Visit the Certification Matters website to verify if your primary care provider is board-certified.

Do they speak your primary language or provide interpreter services?

Clear communication can give you a better experience and make it easier to understand the next steps in your treatment plan. At Allina Health, you can request a language interpreter at no cost to you.

Do they offer convenient care options?

Ask your potential primary provider if they offer convenient care options, such as virtual visits, same-day appointments and quick care online.

Do you want to see the same provider every time?

Establishing a relationship with a primary care provider can help ensure they know your preferences, personality and way of thinking. Seeing the same provider each time can also help save you time because they’ll already know your health history.

In some cases, you may need specialty care. Your primary care team can quickly refer you to another health care expert to support your unique health needs.

Questions to ask yourself after your first visit

You deserve the best possible care. After your first visit, ask yourself:

  • Did they treat you with respect?
  • Did they listen to you?
  • Did they answer all your questions?
  • Explain things well?
  • Did you feel comfortable during your visit?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, consider searching for a new primary care provider who better meets your needs.

Primary care focused on you

Whether you’re feeling sick or have questions or concerns about your health, it’s important to find the best primary care provider for your needs. When life gets busy, Allina Health makes it easier to find convenient care for your schedule—and you have options.

Walk into a clinic for same-day care, schedule a virtual visit or use Everyday Online to get a diagnosis and treatment plan online in minutes. Plus, you have 24/7 access to your care team through your Allina Health account.

Our providers can meet your needs in the way that works best for you. Schedule an appointment at a clinic near you.


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