If you do not already have a doctor you trust, finding one can be quite an undertaking. Many people have questions about how to choose a doctor. Sometimes their questions can be answered by looking to family or friends. Sometimes it is not quite so simple. Because finding the right doctor is not merely about finding a good doctor, choosing one can involve a number of steps. First, you need someone with whom you feel comfortable, someone who will listen to your needs. Additionally, you need a doctor who will work with your particular insurance. And, obviously, you must find someone whose experience, education, and expertise will afford you the optimum level of care you deserve. Choosing the right doctor can also be about finding a good doctor near you, reason being not everyone has good transportation that will take them right to their physician’s door. Following are some valuable tips on how to choose a doctor that will help you make the decision that is right for you and your family.
Above all else, perhaps the most important step in choosing a doctor is to get references from those you trust. Do not confuse this step with getting referrals from other doctors, especially if the doctor from whom the referral is coming is someone you are not familiar with. Naturally, if you trust your doctor, you should be able to trust his or her referral. Talk with family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers, but remember to only ask for referrals from those you trust. Additionally, it’s important to ask them what types of conditions they have and how their doctor(s) dealt with those conditions. Remember that not everyone is going to open up to you in this manner, so heading to family first is perhaps the best first step.
The Internet can be a rich source of valuable information, even for those in the healthcare profession. Check Internet sources such as Yelp that can provide reviews of specific doctors near you. Remember, though, that today’s Internet also includes reputation scrubbers that can wipe out negative info about any subject or person, including physicians. That’s why it’s important to speak with family and friends whom you trust, as these people can temper what Internet sources cannot.
It might sound like a given, but you’d be surprised how many folks don’t check out a physician’s credentials. If you see licensure and/or degrees on your prospective doctor’s wall, check them out! Call those universities and check with all necessary boards to make certain those credentials are real.
It’s a given that a doctor needs to be accepted in your plan, in some form or other. However, sometimes patients can forget this step as they move from one referral to another. Always contact your insurance company and/or insurance policy before going somewhere new.
This is a vital step that many people unfortunately skip. Remember that you’re not looking for an insurance agent or a grocery packer or even a home contractor. You’re looking for a healthcare professional whose bedside manner will most definitely be important with everyone in your family. Additionally, if you have children, be sure to choose all pediatric doctors who take special care in dealing with little ones.
Last but most surely not least, trust your own instincts. Don’t ignore red flags. If you feel uneasy about your doctor, you can always take more time to check him or her out more extensively. You can even drop one doctor in favor or another. This isn’t about your doctor liking you; it’s about you feeling satisfied with the level of care you and your family are receiving.
The health and security of you and your family, undoubtedly, is your highest priority in life. For this reason, choosing the right doctor, whether you need a general practitioner or a specialist, can be a daunting task, for sure. And, because your family’s very health and lives are at stake, choosing a doctor involves so much more than choosing an insurance agent or even a contractor. Perhaps the most important thing to remember in how to choose a doctor, or choosing a doctor near you, is to trust yourself. If you feel your doctor is not doing the right thing for you and your loved ones, use the steps above to find someone new.