Finding the right doctor isn’t easy, and maybe it shouldn’t be. Consider the individual that you are placing the health of your family in someone else’s hands, you need to feel confident that this individual possesses the right experience, qualifications, skills and bedside manner to provide the care you need. In the past finding the right healthcare provider would leave most of us grappling with the choice of searching for “Dr. Right” or settling for “Dr. Right Now.” However, recent advances in medical technologies have made it possible to find the best of both worlds; Dr. Right is Dr. Right Now.
Tips for Finding the Right Doctor
Whether you have recently moved or are just ready for a change, selecting a primary care physician is one of the most important steps towards managing your healthcare. Your primary care doctor is your medical “home”, and you should feel 100% comfortable and confident with your choice of provider.
When choosing the right provider stick to the basics:
- Select someone you feel comfortable having honest conversations with, after all, you will be discussing very personal details with this person.
- Choose a doctor with expertise in the areas that meet your health needs. For example, you might require a doctor that specializes in pediatrics in addition to family practice.
- Check to see if your candidates are “in-network” for your health insurance plans. Otherwise, you may be in for a shocking surprise when your co-pay arrives!
So exactly how do you determine who fits the mold for your medical care? We’ve put together a few helpful tips to aid you in your quest to find the perfect primary care provider for your family.
Referrals and online reviews are an excellent resource during the initial phase of researching potential candidates for your primary care provider. Start by asking your friends and coworkers whom they would suggest. Check out these providers online to see what other patients are saying about them. Be sure to ask people who are in the same boat as you. For example, you wouldn’t ask your childless coworker for a recommendation for a local pediatrician. Don’t forget to confirm that any new primary care doctor is recognized as an “in-network” provider, as “out-of-network” providers cost you more. You may have very specific requirements for your provider, but the right doctor is out there.
Date Before You Commit
Think of your first visit with your potential doctor as the “coffee” date. You wouldn’t dive head first into a relationship with a weekend getaway before a few low-key test dates, and the same theory applies to finding a doctor. Make an initial consultation to discuss a minor problem, perhaps a nagging cough or a mole check. Your initial appointment allows you to assess your potential physician and meet the support staff. It’s within your right to be selective. I have changed practitioners due to negative reception and nursing staff. When a great physician is surrounded by a support staff that leaves you feeling uneasy and frustrated they are probably not the right fit. Remember, just like with first dates, everyone will be on his or her best behavior during your “meet and greet” so be sure to schedule a follow-up visit after your initial consultation goes well.
Take Your Time
The search for your new doctor is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re seeking to cultivate a long-term relationship with your practitioner, with the intent of building that relationship over the course of the next few years. Take your time to ensure the relationship is on track to meet your healthcare needs.
Trust Your Instincts
Above all, follow your gut. This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of selecting your healthcare provider. It’s perfectly okay to pass on a doctor because there is something you just don’t like. You need to feel comfortable with your family doctor; you should like your provider and not dread having to make an appointment. If something doesn’t feel right, or your feel uncomfortable for any reason just move on to your next candidate. The right doctor is out there, and with a little patience, you will find them.
The Best of Both Worlds
Dr. Right can be your Dr. Right Now. Telemedicine offers an alternative to the in-house provider model that eats away at our time. How many times have you thought about calling your provider for an appointment, but you just don’t feel well enough to leave the house? Instead, you could power up your computer or reach for your tablet or smartphone. Within a few taps or clicks, you’re looking at a live video image of your doctor and consulting with them directly.
Juggling the work schedules, school schedules, and extracurricular activities for every member of the family is challenging enough, throw in that wrench for a doctor’s appointment and it’s enough to drive a person crazy. However, telemedicine offers the patient the opportunity to see their primary care physician whenever they need to, in a manner that suits their personal schedule. The battle between finding Dr. Right and Dr. Right now is finally over. If you follow these simple tips, you can have the best of both worlds!