Qualities To Look For In Your Primary Care Physician
By:     -   July 15, 2017   -   Health & Wellness  -  Medical   -   9 Comments   -   965 Views
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Photo: Pexels

After a years-long hunt for the perfect doctor, I may have finally found an amazing primary care physician…and couldn’t be anymore ecstatic. After my family’s longtime primary care physician retired, it has been pretty much hit or miss in finding the right replacement. Seeking specialists (i.e., OBGYN, dentist, eye doctor) have never been as daunting for me, but the general primary care hunt has been a kicker. We all have our horror stories…and if you do not, consider yourselves lucky.

Photos: Pexels

Photo: Pexels

So, how do you go about looking for a good doctor to suit your needs? Here are some tips:

WHAT ARE YOUR NEEDS

First, figure out what these needs are. It is important to have a primary care physician to oversee your overall health, as specialists can become quite costly over time. Most specialists require a referral from your primary care doctor before they can even treat you. For example, women mostly seek a primary care and OBGYN. Although primary care doctors can perform well woman visits, you will absolutely need to be under an OBGYN’s care for pregnancies, fertility treatments, reproductive issues, etc. There are so many layers to this.

SEARCH WITHIN YOUR COVERAGE NETWORK

When looking for any health professional, it is important to do your due diligence. The internet and your insurance carrier are good places to start in finding care within your network. Popular databases, such as Healthgrades and Vitals are great for narrowing down your local health provider. Be sure to also check out their credentials and pay close attention to the patient reviews.

Some things to verify:

  • Hospital affiliation(s)
  • Office location(s)
  • Educational background
  • Specialty interests
  • Languages spoken
  • Years in practice
  • Gender
  • Types of insurance accepted
  • Review Curriculum Vitae (CV) if available (likely on affiliated hospital website).
  • Check out patient reviews (take into account at your discretion)
  • Make sure they’re accepting new patients

ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

Another useful route is to flat-out ask your friends and family for direct recommendations. Once you have a running list, you can contact these providers to see if they accept your insurance carrier prior to locking in a visit.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST VISIT

The next part of the phase is the toughest. After you’ve narrowed down your top choices, it’s time to schedule your visits. But first, you will need to come prepared – insurance information, identification, co-pay, past records (if requested), your medical history (i.e., allergies, medications currently being taken), as well as any present concerns you would like to discuss.

Once you arrive, this is where your firsthand experience comes in. You may want to notate the convenience of the office location, its cleanliness, timeliness and professionalism of the staff, and bedside manner of the physician. Did you feel comfortable that your concerns were heard and addressed? Were you open and honest with the doctor? Were their record management systems modern and up-to-date? Did you leave with a treatment plan and feeling good about the overall visit? If you left feeling worse, judged, rushed and agitated with the service, it may be time to look elsewhere.

 

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