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Choosing a Primary Care Provider

Choosing a doctor—your primary care provider—is an important decision. You need a reliable, skilled expert you can trust to care for you and your family, now and in the years to come.

Primary care doctors are either medical doctors (M.D.) or doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.). Both types of doctors have comprehensive training in human anatomy, with D.O. physicians placing additional emphasis on manipulation of the body's musculoskeletal system.

Primary care physicians specialize in internal medicine, family practice or pediatrics. They are licensed to diagnose, treat, advise and prescribe for any medical disease or condition. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who practice under the supervision of a physician, can also serve as your primary care provider.

How to Choose a Primary Care Provider

Before you choose your primary care physician, ask yourself:

  • Is it easy to reach the provider? Is the staff friendly?
  • Are the office hours and location convenient for me?
  • Does this physician concentrate on my needs, or refer me to specialists for more focused care?
  • Does this provider encourage me to participate in my care?

Types of Primary Care Providers

Primary care providers offer different services and areas of specialization. Your specific medical needs and stage of life will help you choose where to begin. Types of primary care providers include:

  • Pediatricians – Physicians dedicated to treating newborns, infants, children and adolescents up to age 18
  • Internists – Doctors treating adults, including seniors
  • Family Practice – Providers who treat patients of all ages, from babies to seniors; family practice providers can treat your entire family
  • Obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYNs) – Physicians who treat women of all ages, especially those of childbearing age
  • Gerontologists – Doctors caring for seniors' medical needs

Portsmouth Primary Care Physicians

Portsmouth Regional Hospital works closely with a number of primary care providers throughout the Seacoast region.