How to Choose the Best Primary Care Doctor for Your Needs
Choose the Best Primary Care Doctor
In the past year, 51 percent of people in the U.S. have had contact with their primary care physician. The fact is, this medical professional plays an instrumental role in your health and well-being, which is why it’s so important to find the right person for the job.
If you are moving, or just unsatisfied with the level of care you receive from your current primary care doctor, then it may be time to make a change.
Choosing your primary care physician isn’t something you need to do “off the cuff.” Instead, take your time and use the tips and information here to find the right person for your needs.
Ask for Recommendations
The first step in finding a great doctor is to talk to people you know. Getting a recommendation from someone you know, and trust is a great way to find a helpful and highly skilled doctor.
However, keep this in mind – everyone is unique. Just because a doctor is great for your sister or friend, it doesn’t mean they are right for you.
Recommendations can help guide your search, but don’t rely only on these when it’s time to make a decision.
Determine the Type of Doctor You Need
Even if you already know the difference in an MD and a DO, you may not know the difference between internal medicine and family medicine.
Family care doctors provide services for patients of all ages, from the time they are born until they die. This may include specialty services, such as geriatric, adult, pediatric, gynecological, obstetric and prenatal care.
An internal medicine doctor provides care for adults beginning at the age of 18. Also, most internal medicine doctors have a subspecialty, which means if you have a specific healthy problem, find someone who knows about the particular issue.
Determine What Doctors are In-Network
The majority of health plans, including Medicare, Medigap and association health plans, have negotiated lower rates with certain hospitals and doctors in your local area. This means when you visit this doctor, you will pay less money out of your own pocket.
The doctors mentioned above are referred to as “in-network” for insurance purposes. Making sure you select one of these doctors will help you void the high, “out-of-network” charges or having to pay in full out of your own pocket because the doctor you’ve chosen to use doesn’t accept the type of insurance you have.
If you need to find out who your in-network doctors are, you can call your insurance provider.
Conduct a Quality Check
There’s a good chance you would never hire someone to make repairs in your home without first doing a little research regarding the quality of work they do. So, why would you try to select a doctor without doing the same type of investigation?
Make sure to check and see if the doctor you are hiring is board-certified. You can do this via the Certification Matters website. This site is maintained by the American Board of Medical Specialties. A board-certified primary physician has not only meet the licensing requirements of the state they provide care in, but they have also passed the comprehensive exams in internal medicine.
With this information, you can feel confident you have found a capable and qualified doctor.
Even if you have done your homework and found what seems to be a great doctor, make sure to visit the office and speak with the physician before scheduling an actual appointment. This will help ensure you like the doctor, that they understand your health needs and that they want to help you maintain a happy and healthy life.