Not everyone knows how to find a doctor but they do know they want a good one they are comfortable with. Finding the right doctor doesn’t really have to be that difficult but it can take some time sometimes.
Whether you are just unsatisfied with the doctor you are using now or if you are moving to another area or state and need to find one in that area, or if you are needing a specialized doctor for a specific treatment, these tips are meant to help you make the right choice in choosing your physician.
The First Steps in Finding the Right Doctor
The first thing you should do even before you begin your search for the right doctor is know what type of relationship you are looking for from your doctor. Are you looking for a short term relationship such as with a specialist and/or surgeon, or are you wanting a long term relationship that you would need and want from say a pediatrician or internist. Do you want a general practitioner or one that practices multiple areas of medicine. You will also want to know if you prefer someone affiliated with a specific hospital or maybe you prefer a doctor that does house calls (yes, some still do).
You may want to know ahead of time what type of hours you expect from your doctor, maybe you need one that has evening or weekend appointments. This may shorten the list but after all you want the right doctor for you and your family. After you have decided on what type of doctor you are looking for you can then begin your search.
Nowadays there is the internet that is full of information on just about everything, including doctors. It is important to remember though that the internet is open to everyone so some of the information you find may not be as reliable as you would expect.
One of the first things you want to check out from the doctors in your list is whether they are licensed in your state. If that information isn’t listed, you can always check with your state’s physician licensing board. You will want to make sure the doctor you are researching is board certified and practices in the field of medicine you are looking for. Some doctors can be board certified in one area of medicine but will be practicing in another.
You will want to make sure that any of the doctors you are considering accept your health coverage insurance if you are covered by any. Not all doctors will accept all insurances. If you aren’t covered by a health care insurance then cost will definitely play a role in making your decision. Some physicians will post their costs but if they don’t you can always call and see what an office visit will cost.
Other Resources for Information
It use to be a customary procedure to just find a doctor by word of mouth from family, friends, or co-workers. This can still be a good resource for finding the right doctor, but what may be good for them may not be good for you.
You can use web sites like Zagat’s or Angie’s List, these places where you would go to find a contractor or a good restaurant have launched a doctor rating section to their other listings. This can be helpful because people are rating the doctors they use. Although doctors aren’t very pleased with these sites because negative comments can be listed randomly and anonymously and doesn’t really measure the doctor’s quality. Health experts say that these sites can be very beneficial if used properly.
Health insurance companies can be a good resource in helping find the right doctor. If you are covered by medical insurance you can contact them to get a list of their preferred doctors in your area. You will already know that these doctors accept your insurance and have cleared the criteria such as cost, care given and time, from the insurance company to be partnered with them. However, the insurance company’s needs may not be the same as yours when it comes to your healthcare but it can be a good start to finding the right doctor.
There are also other web sites that you can use to find out information about a physician you are interested in. Some of these sites will charge a small fee to provide a doctor’s credentials. Some of the information one can expect to find from these types of web sites are the doctor’s schooling and certification, how long they have been in practice, and what they practice. There are some that will include more detailed information about the care they provide, whether they have had or is under any malpractice suits, and their mortality rates.
The Final Stage
How to find a doctor, the right doctor, final stage is all up to you. You have to take your list and start making appointments. If you still have questions or concerns about choosing this doctor jot down your notes and don’t be afraid to ask when you get there.
When you visit the doctors on your list don’t forget to watch their bedside manner. You don’t want a doctor that will just rush you out without taking the time to make sure you understand your condition, if any, or what will be expected for your care in general. They should be compassionate, concerned, and appreciative that you chose them for your healthcare needs.
Don’t be discouraged if you need to make more than one appointment if you aren’t quite sure, as doctors are human and understand the importance of first impressions. Remember the more you put into finding the right doctor the more you will get out of the experience in the long run.