Choosing a Primary Care Provider

Choosing a Primary Care Provider

A health care provider is your partner for a variety of needs including prevention, routine care, and acute care. Your provider may be a physician (family practitioner, internist, or pediatrician), nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Some women use obstetricians/gynecologists for their primary care needs. Your provider is your care coordinator and gate-keeper to the world of health care services including:

  • Managing health prevention services
  • Monitoring treatment
  • Approving and coordinating lab work, x-rays, referrals, etc.
  • Managing your records

Best Practices:

How do I select a provider?

  • List the things you want in a provider.
    • Gender
    • Office location
    • Office hours
    • Office staff
    • How long you must wait for an appointment
    • Usual length of wait in the office
  • Look for a provider who accepts your health plan. Read the materials provided by your health plan. Call the provider's office to find out if the provider is accepting new patients and if your insurance plan is accepted.
  • Check to see if the provider is permitted to practice at the hospital you prefer.
  • Ask friends, family, coworkers, or other trusted health care providers for recommendations.
  • Verify credentials with the local medical society.
  • Be sure your provider takes steps to prevent illness (for example, talks to you about exercising more or quitting smoking).
  • Learn how after hours calls and emergencies are handled and who provides back-up for the provider.
  • Look for a provider who encourages you to ask questions, listens to you, explains things clearly, and treats you with respect.

How we can help:

Call 615-936-2187 to set up an appointment with Vanderbilt Internal Medicine Group (Medical Center East, 100 Oaks, or Brentwood locations). You may also use the links below to find a provider close to you within the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network who is on the health plan and covered at the highest benefit level. Finally, the Occupational Health Clinic and Health Plus can assist you in finding a health care provider to meet your needs.

Additional Information:

Vanderbilt University Employees:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center Employees:

  • VUMC Appointments Direct - If you are a member of the VUMC health plan and need to see a Vanderbilt Health provider, you can “jump the line” with Appointments Direct — a dedicated phone number that gives you preferred access to appointments with Tier 1 providers. Call 855-724-2454 to schedule an appointment and be seen within a week.
  • Aetna Doc Find
  • VHAN Walk-In and After-Hours Clinics

Keywords: Doctor, Health Care Provider, Primary Care Provider, Preventive Care, Health Care, Nurse practitioner, Physician, Internist, OB/GYN, Pediatrician, Physician Assistant