Your primary care doctor is your partner in healthcare and is often your first point of contact, even if you need to see a specialist. This makes it important to choose wisely when selecting one. You will, of course, want to choose someone who works with your insurance company, but you’ll need to dig deeper to find a good match. Here are three key qualities to check before making a new doctor your primary care provider.
Where your doctor went to school matters, as does how dedicated he is to continuing education as healthcare advances. Ask potential doctors about their educational experience and research the medical school they attended. Make sure they’ve received the proper training, like completing an online pediatric nurse practitioner program, that will fit the needs of your family. Look for school reviews and other information online. Ask, too, about the doctor’s medical experience. How long have they been practicing? Do they have any special training? Learning more about a physician’s education and experience is crucial to choosing the right one, especially if you have special health needs.
An important part of choosing a medical professional is making sure you can get to them when the need arises. Depending on your schedule, you’ll want to choose a doctor that offers some evening and weekend hours. Find someone with a convenient location and, if necessary, a doctor close to public transportation. It’s also wise to find out what extended services the office provides. Can x-rays be performed in the doctor’s office or will you need to visit another facility? How about blood work and other testing? Ask what local hospital the doctor works with to ensure that your new doctor has privileges at your preferred facility.
Not all doctors apply the same philosophies to their practice, making it important to find a doctor you mesh well with. The only way to do this is to meet her and ask some questions – a time consuming but worthwhile part of the process. Some doctors, for instance, pair modern medicine with acupuncture and other holistic approaches while others do not. Some feel healthcare decisions should be made with their patients while others see themselves more as directing their patient’s healthcare. There are also pediatricians who choose not to treat unvaccinated children. A brief chat with your prospective physician will let you know if visits feel rushed, if you’re comfortable talking to the doctor and whether or not the doctor shares your views.
When choosing a primary care partner, don’t underestimate the need to find one who you trust, can get to easily and who is well educated. The right choice could save your life, so spend some time on the process, ask for referrals from friends and choose carefully.