Health / Doctor visits

Primary Care: A How-to Guide

Advance Primary Care Team: How-to Guide

What you should know

Your primary care practice is your "home" in the healthcare system. In the past, it was just you and your primary care provider. Now, at many primary care practices, you have an entire healthcare team—all under one roof. This is called a patient-centered medical home.

How to make the most of your care

  • Call your primary care provider first, even on nights and weekends.
    Many practices have extended hours or can help over the phone. If your primary care provider's office is closed, there is often a provider on call who can help you decide whether to seek care right away or wait until the office is open.
  • See a nurse care manager for extra help.
    Need help with a health problem? Or creating a weight-loss or exercise plan? Your primary care provider will suggest that you meet with the nurse care manager—at no cost to you.
  • Meet with a pharmacist.
    During this visit, the pharmacist can help you understand your medications and suggest ways to lower your costs.
  • Take a health class.
    Your practice may offer free classes on diabetes, sleep, and other health issues.
  • Use your practice's online patient portal.
    View your medical records, see lab results, and contact your practice–from wherever you are.

To find a patient-centered medical home, you can use our Find a Doctor tool or call BCBSRI Customer Service.