It can feel overwhelming to find the doctor that’s right for you. Not only do you need to find one that has all the credentials, but who accepts your health insurance and that you feel comfortable with too. And, you probably don’t want to have to drive a long way for appointments either. To help you make the process easier, follow these steps.
Your Health Insurance Directory
A good place to start your search for a primary care doctor is in the directory your health insurance provides as oftentimes you’ll have to go “in-network” to insurance maximum benefits.
Talk to Friends, Family, and Co-Workers
Recommendations are one of the best ways to find a good doctor. Talk to everyone you know to find out if they can refer you to someone to trust and have a good rapport with. Again, if your health insurance requires you to choose from a specific list, as many do, your co-workers are likely to have a name or two that will work for you. If there is one doctor who seems to keep being mentioned, call the office and ask if you can meet with him or her.
If you don’t get any recommendations, and even if you do, you should also search through consumer review sites to find out more about the doctors in your area. Keep in mind that some people simply can’t be pleased no matter what. At the other end of the spectrum, there may be quite a few physicians with high ratings that aren’t necessarily that good, rather they say “yes” to whatever their patients are asking for. While their patients may be satisfied, it’s not the best way to keep them, or you, healthy.
Check Out Their Credentials
Of course, the most critical factor in choosing a doctor should be their qualifications. Before making your decision, ensure the doctor is board certified which guarantees that he or she has earned a degree from a qualified medical school in addition to completing their residency training which typically requires three to seven years. They should also have passed the ABMS exams and be licensed by a state medical board. Do some research to find out where the physician completed their residency too as patient demographics vary from one residency program to another. It’s important that they’ve completed a top-notch residency program that’s exposed them to a variety of patients.
Pay Attention to Communication and Listening Skills
When meeting with potential doctors, through the center for family medicine program or any other clinic, keep in mind that It’s important that you have someone who listens to you and communicates well. You want a doctor who can explain things in a way that’s easy to understand without being condescending. It’s important that you feel comfortable enough with the doctor to be honest and open in order to get the best care possible. Determine whether or not he or she has a similar philosophy that you do, along with the experience and credentials.