To find a doctor, you need to understand what option is the most convenient for you. The credibility of the doctor as well as whether they are covered by your health plan or not are important considerations.
Here are some ways to find a doctor:
Doctors in the network
The starting point to find a doctor would be your health plan. Depending on your area of residence, your health plan will have competitive rates for specific doctors as well as hospitals. These doctors are called in-network doctors according to insurance companies. The advantage of seeing an in-network doctor over an out-of-network doctor is the fees and consultation charges. If you pick an out-of-network doctor, you will have to bear all the expenses by yourself as these doctors do not recognize your insurance plan’s coverage. You can go the website of your insurance service provider or call their toll free number to find out if the hospital you intend to visit is covered under their plan or not.
Area of expertise
Now that you have identified the in-network doctors, it is essential to find out the area of expertise you require. You will have to choose your primary care physician from the different categories of doctors such as Family Practice, General Practice or Internal Medicine. As far as children are concerned, the primary care physician will be known as a pediatrician, a doctor who specializes in the treatment of children.
- Family practice: As far as expertise is concerned, family practice physicians are generalists. They can provide solutions for various types of health problems that specialists deal in, like injuries related to sports as well as issues relating to the health of women. Patients from any age bracket, be it children or senior citizens, can avail of their services.
- Internal medicine: These doctors restrict their treatment to adults. Their area of specialization is to prevent, diagnose, and manage diseases and well as chronic conditions.
- General practice: Like their family practice counterparts, general practice physicians cater to all age groups and genders. Osteopaths belong to this category of physicians. They practice alternative medicine that focuses on the musculoskeletal system. As far as designations are concerned, they have the abbreviation “D.O.” instead of “M.D. after their names.
You can ask your loved ones for recommendations to locate a physician. People are more comfortable visiting a doctor referred by their family, co-workers or friends. You could ask them regarding the doctor they visit frequently. If you have an existing healthcare professional that you trust, then you could ask them for a referral. A pharmacist or dentist well known to you could be a great way to find the right physician. If you are shifting to a new location, you could ask your current primary care physician for a recommendation.
An important consideration while choosing a primary care physician is logistics. You need to ask yourself if it would be more convenient for you if the doctor’s clinic is close to your residence or place of work. So, go online to find out the location of the primary care physician and choose one that suits you. It is equally important to find out the timings of your doctor as well as the days on which they are available. Is it possible to visit the doctor at a time convenient to you, like after work or on weekends? Will you have to take time off from work to visit the doctor? You also need to call the hospital with which the doctor is associated to verify if they are covered by your health plan.
The language of communication is another vital thing to consider. Find out whether your doctor can understand the language you speak so that there is no communication gap. If you are comfortable with modern technology, find out if there are alternate means of communication like emails or online contact through a website.
All the referrals in the world can’t replace personal experience with a doctor. So, you need to visit the doctor to find out if they are suitable for you. Ensure that the environment, as well as the nursing staff, meet your expectations. Since you will be relying on the physician for your treatment, find out if they are trustworthy. Discuss the current medications prescribed to you as well as your past medical records to see if there are any differences of opinion when it comes to handling a chronic condition you have. Find out if the staff at the reception are courteous or not. Test them by calling up the clinic to check if they are prompt in handling your queries. Learn if it is cumbersome to set up an appointment with this doctor.
These are some things that you need to keep in mind while you’re out to find a doctor for the treatment of a medical condition that you or a loved one might have.