Your Road Map for Primary Care

Nancy V. Morris, MD, primary care provider and internal medicine physician at Saint Joseph London, helped us map out a successful primary care visit.

Pack Up

Before you leave for your appointment, make sure you have:

  • Your driver’s license or other photo ID
  • Your insurance card
  • A list of your current medications

“Some of my patients keep a notebook or a document on their computer with all of their medications, past surgeries and pertinent health problems they have,” Dr. Morris said. “For some patients, that can be a helpful way to have all of their health information in one convenient place.”

Out the Door

  • Arrive 10 to 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.
  • If you are going to be late, call the front office to alert them.

On the Road

During your primary care visit, your providers will:

  • Take your vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, weight)
  • Discuss any immediate health concerns
  • Talk about health maintenance issues and offer advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle
  • Make adjustments to your medication, if necessary

If needed, your provider might refer you to a specialist for further care. Most primary care visits take 15 to 45 minutes.

Ask for Directions

We recommend asking your provider these questions during every primary care visit:

  • Am I due for any preventive health screenings, lab work or vaccinations?
  • What is my blood pressure and body mass index? Are they at healthy levels, or do they need to improve?
  • What about other lab numbers, such as my a1C or cholesterol levels? Are they at healthy levels, or do they need improvement?
  • What are some steps I can take to lead a healthier lifestyle?

Make Every Visit Successful

“Be proactive about your health,” Dr. Morris said. “Take the recommendations your physician gives you, and ask questions if you don’t understand. That will help make each primary care visit successful.”

Visit our provider directory to find a primary care provider who is right for you.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.