Choosing the right health care provider empowers patients

Posted: Updated:

One of the most difficult challenges of navigating the health care system is knowing which doctor to see.

Do you need a specialist? How do you know which hospital to go to? And who is keeping track of it all?

It is something large health care providers have been thinking about as well, and many think they have found a way to help.

Dr. Corina Veatch is part of that equation. She is a primary care physician, but unlike many doctors in the past, she did not open up her own practice.

“I work for John C. Lincoln Health Services, and we have what is called a physician network," she said.

John C. Lincoln is one of many large providers opening physician clinics.

“Being an employed physician has a lot of benefits," Veatch said. "Being able to come to work and see my patients and deal with their labs and their problems, and not deal with insurance companies and billing.”

And while this is a new trend, Veatch says primary care doctors are also taking up something from the past: the idea of being a true "family doctor."

“Back in the day, your doctor would take care of you both in the office, and then if you were going to have a baby, they would deliver your baby in the hospital. And if your mom was sick, they would come see her in the hospital," Veatch explained.

That type of relationship is possible again, thanks to electronic medical records and being part of a larger network.

“So any time someone goes to the hospital, I know," she said. "If they are my patient, I get a little ding in my inbox."

That idea of having a family doctor is what attracted Jenny Clark, who already has three boys and now has a daughter on the way.

”With children, it's just super convenient to see a primary care doctor for all of our needs, versus seeing a female doctor, an OB-GYN, a pediatrician, and then someone else for my husband. We don't have to mess with any of that,” Clark said.

She says having other doctors in the network makes finding a specialist easier as well.

“For example, when my son needed to see an allergist, Dr. Veatch was able to say, 'We have an allergist,' ” Clark explained.

She says she can still choose to see someone else, but she likes having those records available to everyone in the JCL network.

“That's comforting as well because you feel like your doctor is actually tracking with you," Clark said.

And while this network model works for her, Clark says the key to getting the most out of your health care is to find one doctor you can stick with.

“I think what it comes down to is your relationship with your individual primary care doctor," she said.

We have seen other providers including Banner Health open physician clinics as well. Veatch says so far there is not a universal medical record system, but in the future that could help make patient care more seamless no matter where patients go.