How to Switch Up Your Care: Changing Primary Physicians!

Are you looking for a new primary care physician? Maybe you’ve moved to a new city, or you’re just not satisfied with your current doctor. No matter the reason, changing primary care physicians can feel daunting. But with a little bit of research and preparation, you can make the transition to a new provider go as smoothly as possible.

Why Consider Changing Your Primary Physician?

There are a number of reasons why someone might consider switching primary care physicians. Here are a few of the most common:

  • You’ve moved to a new city or state
  • Your current physician is retiring or moving away
  • You’re not satisfied with the care you’re receiving
  • Your healthcare needs have changed and your current physician isn’t the right fit anymore

Steps to Changing Your Primary Physician

Step 1: Decide What You’re Looking For in a New Doctor

Before you start your search for a new primary care physician, take some time to think about what qualities are important to you. Do you want someone who has a particular specialty, like women’s health or geriatrics? Are you looking for a doctor who is located close to your home or workplace? Do you prefer a physician who takes a certain type of insurance?

Make a list of your top priorities so that you know what to look for as you begin your search.

Step 2: Research Potential Physicians

There are a number of ways to find potential new primary care physicians in your area:

  • Ask for recommendations from friends, family members, or coworkers.
  • Check with your insurance company to see if they have a list of recommended providers.
  • Use online resources like Healthgrades or Zocdoc to search for physicians based on location, specialty, or insurance.

Once you have a list of potential physicians, take some time to research each one. Look for information about their qualifications, experience, and patient reviews.

Step 3: Schedule a Consultation

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential physicians, contact their offices to schedule a consultation. This will give you a chance to meet with the doctor in person, ask questions, and determine if they’re the right fit for you.

Be prepared to ask questions about their background, experience, and approach to care. You might also want to ask about their availability, office hours, and how they handle after-hours emergencies.

Step 4: Make the Switch

Once you’ve selected a new primary care physician, it’s time to make the switch. Contact your current provider to let them know that you’ll be transferring your care to a new physician. They may have specific steps for you to follow in order to transfer your medical records and other information.

Be sure to also notify your insurance company so that they can update their records with your new provider’s information.

Tips for a Smooth Transition

Changing primary care physicians can be stressful, but there are steps you can take to make the transition go more smoothly:

  • Be upfront with your new physician about your medical history and any ongoing conditions
  • Make sure your medical records are transferred to your new provider
  • Attend your first appointment with your new physician prepared with questions or concerns
  • Give yourself time to adjust to your new physician’s care and approach

In Summary

Changing primary care physicians can be nerve-wracking, but with some preparation and research, you can find a new provider who meets your needs and provides the care you deserve. Remember to make a list of your priorities, research potential physicians, schedule a consultation, and make sure your medical records are transferred.

FAQs About Changing Primary Care Physicians

Can I change primary care physicians at any time?

Yes, you can change primary care physicians at any time. Just be sure to follow the proper steps for transferring your medical records and notifying your insurance company.

Will I be able to see my new physician right away?

It depends on the physician’s availability. Be sure to check with their office to find out when their next available appointment is.

What should I do if I’m not satisfied with my new physician?

If you’re not satisfied with your new physician, try to assess what specifically isn’t working and have a conversation with them about your concerns. If you’re still not satisfied, you can begin the process of finding a new provider.

How long does it take to transfer medical records?

The amount of time it takes to transfer medical records can vary depending on the provider and the complexity of your medical history. Be sure to ask your current provider for an estimated timeline.

Can I transfer all of my medical history to my new provider?

In most cases, yes. Be sure to contact your current provider to find out what specific steps you need to take to transfer your medical records.


1. American Medical Association. Tips for changing primary care physicians. Accessed August 24, 2021.

2. Healthgrades. What to know about switching doctors. Posted January 13, 2021. Accessed August 24, 2021.

3. Zocdoc. How to switch doctors: a step-by-step guide. Posted August 23, 2019. Accessed August 24, 2021.

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