Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a New Doctor
One of the most important relationships you'll ever have is with your doctor. It's a relationship that is built completely on trust. The longer a doctor and patient have been together, the stronger their bond is. That's because doctors truly get to know their patients, their medical history, their needs, wants, and more. If your doctor retires after 20 years, it can be a tough pill to swallow. Not only are you saying goodbye to a big and important part of your life, but you'll also need to begin the search for a suitable replacement. It can be overwhelming which is why it's important to break it down into steps.
The Most Important Factors to Consider
When searching for a new doctor, you'll need to consider a few important factors before taking the plunge into committing to someone new. The first thing you'll want to do is make sure the doctor you're considering is in-network. To do this, simply visit your healthcare provider's website or ask the doctor's office. Asking about insurance will save you the headache of unexpected bills and expenses in the long run. Secondly, you'll need to decide how far you're willing to travel for quality care. If you need to make frequent trips, you'll want a doctor fairly close by. If you're someone who simply goes for your yearly checkup or physical, you can get away with traveling farther for a doctor you truly connect with.
Set Up a Visit to Their Office
Once you find a doctor who meets your criteria on paper, it's time to set up the all-important doctor's office visit. You can't truly get a read for someone or see if a doctor is a right fit for you until you meet them in person. This is your chance to see their facility, see if they have state-of-the-art equipment, such as a Littmann stethoscope and other examining equipment, and see if it's a place you feel comfortable in. You'll also get the chance to ask your doctor important questions regarding their experience, credentials, and history of working with patients with similar medical needs as yours.
Look for Referrals
If you have family members and friends that you trust, ask them their opinion on doctors. Oftentimes, reading reviews online aren't always truthful. Some people lie, exaggerate, and bend the truth to fit their narratives. If you have a family member who has had similar medical concerns as you have, ask them their opinion on the doctor they use. Sometimes, certain ailments and conditions run in the family. That's why asking a family member for advice comes in handy. It's not always smart to take medical advice from people we know who aren't healthcare professionals, but it is smart to ask them for recommendations. Going to a doctor who is known to your family or friends will also help to alleviate your nerves. It's important to feel relaxed at the doctor's office, especially for that initial visit, so that you can get all your questions and concerns answered and addressed.
Questions to Ask a New Doctor
Once you think you've found the perfect match, you'll want to ask a few final questions to ensure that he or she is the right fit. First, you need to know if the doctor you're interested in is taking new patients and is board certified. Those are the most basic questions, but they will ensure that you are finding the right fit. If you are someone with a hectic work schedule, you'll want to ask about office hours. If you work the third shift, you need to ensure that you can still find medical care at hours that fit your schedule. Does the doctor make house visits? Can you call or email your doctor if you're unable to come in? Asking those questions will ensure that you are finding a doctor that fits your lifestyle.
If you suffer from a certain medical condition, an important question to also ask is, "How many patients like me have you treated?" Experience is critical and this will ensure that you are getting the best treatment you can. Some questions may seem frivolous and others may seem intrusive, but it's all to make sure that you are getting the best possible care out there.