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Your Visit to a UPMC Primary Care Provider (PCP)

Every visit with your UPMC Primary Care provider — whether it's your 1st or 10th — is a chance to improve your health. When you see your PCP on a routine basis, they get to know you and your health concerns.

They can run tests, answer questions, and address any problems you're having.

If you already have a relationship with a PCP, they should have your health history on file. They should also have results from bloodwork and physical exams from past visits.

You should let your doctor know if you've had a recent illness or other changes in your health history. As with your first appointment, bring a list of questions and concerns.

Being prepared can make your PCP visit even more worthwhile. Here's what you need to know about your doctor's office visit.


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Find a Primary Care Location at UPMC

How Should I Prepare for My First Appointment?

It's vital for your PCP to have as much information before the appointment as possible. You should plan to arrive 20 to 30 minutes before your scheduled time. If you haven’t completed Pre-Registration, you'll need to fill out forms about yourself and your health history.

You may want to review your family's health history before your appointment. It's crucial for your PCP to know if certain health issues, like heart disease or cancer, run in your family.

You should bring these items to the appointment:

  • Your photo ID (driver's license, passport, or other form of photo ID).
  • Your insurance card.
  • A list of prescription medicines you take on a regular basis.
  • A list of vitamins, over-the-counter drugs, or herbal supplements you take.
  • Your health records if the PCP doesn't already have them.
  • The names and phone numbers of other doctors you see.
  • A list of questions to ask your PCP. If you write them down, you're less likely to forget questions once you're in the office. View FAQs about primary care.

If you arrive prepared, your doctor can make better use of their time and yours.

To make an appointment, see our list of providers. Or, find a PCP location near you.

Forms

If you visit one of our Central Pa. locations, you should review the following forms:

What To Expect During Your PCP Appointment

Once you arrive, you can check in using your patient portal and let the office staff know you're there. A staff member (typically a medical assistant or nurse) will let you know when it's your turn. They will ask about any medicines you take, weigh you, and take your temperature and blood pressure.

Your provider will ask questions about your health history, lifestyle, and family situation. They'll note any medicines, vitamins, or supplements you take.

They will then do a physical exam. They'll check many systems of your body with simple tests and by asking you questions.

Your PCP will:

  • Listen to your heart.
  • Listen to your lungs.
  • Look into your ears, eyes, nose, and throat.

Questions to ask your PCP

It's crucial to ask questions, especially if you don't understand something your doctor tells you. This is also the time to mention any symptoms or concerns you have. Your provider wants to know what's vital to you. Or your PCP may think you already understand what they're telling you.

It may help to write your questions down in advance. It may also help to take notes on what your provider tells you so you can remember the details.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What screening tests do you recommend for me?
  • Do I need any vaccines?
  • Am I at risk for any health issues?
  • What lifestyle changes can I make to improve my health?
  • Do I need to see a specialist?
  • When should I schedule my next appointment?

Let your PCP know if there have been major changes in your life since your last visit. That includes if you've had an illness, injury, or health concern.

You should also tell your doctor about any mental or emotional challenges you face. Events like a divorce, death in the family, or job change can affect your mental and physical health. Your PCP can screen for mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

Prescription Refills

Once you have a relationship with a PCP, you can get prescription refills a few ways. You can request refills during an office visit, by phone, or by sending a message to your provider using your patient portal. Please note: You can only renew medications through your patient portal.

It can take 48 hours or more to process the refill.

To request a refill, you will need to provide:

  • Your name.
  • The best phone number to reach you.
  • Birthdate.
  • The name of the drug.
  • The dosage or strength of the drug.
  • How often you take the drug.
  • Phone number for the pharmacy where you want to pick up your prescription.

Your doctor may not approve all requests for refills. If you haven't seen them for a while, they might want you to make an appointment.

Your PCP always has your health in mind when they order refills.

They want to make sure you need the medicine and that you're taking the right amount.

Many drugs have side effects. Be sure to discuss them with your PCP.

Your PCP will also want to check on your progress with the medicine. You may have a follow-up visit or phone call so your doctor can find out how you're doing.

Find a pharmacy near you.