Choosing a doctor is an important decision. This is the person you are going to be relying on when things are not going well in your life – whether you are sick or dealing with an injury – so you want to get the choice right. There are likely a lot of doctors to choose from in your area, but that doesn’t mean they are all the right choice for you. Before you decide on which doctor you are going to go with, here are 7 things to consider that will help you to make your choice.
Your Insurance Plan
First, if you have insurance, you should take a look at your plan and see which doctors are within your network. Not every doctor is going to accept every type of insurance, so you want to see who is available based on your plan. To do this, either give your insurance provider a call, check out their website, or review the information they sent you when you first signed up for the plan. This will tell you which doctors accept your insurance within your area, so that you can immediately narrow down your search.
Location, Location, Location
Next, you’ll want to choose a doctor that is convenient for you to get to. If you’re sick, you don’t want to be driving 90 minutes in order to see your doctor. There are websites that will help you to find a doctor in your area, and then you can cross-check this with the doctors that accept your insurance plan.
When considering which doctor to go to, you should also find out what hospital they use, and if they need to send you elsewhere for things like x-rays. These locations matter as well, so you’ll want to look up where they are, and make sure they are convenient to you. While most of your visits will be at the doctor’s main office, you should still consider the other locations you may need to travel to under some circumstances.
Next, it doesn’t do much good to have a doctor nearby if you can never get an appointment. When choosing a doctor, you want to find one that has a relatively free schedule, and doesn’t make patients waiting when they arrive at the office. To test this, call the office and see when the next available appointment is. If it’s within your liking, then this is a good sign. Feel free to call back a couple more times over the next few weeks just to see if their schedule remains open, or if it was just a one-time fluke.
The Doctor’s Expertise
If you have a certain condition that you need treated, you want a doctor that specializes in it. Everyone is different, and has different needs from their doctor. Only you can know what you want your doctor to be extra knowledgeable about, so keep these things in mind when you are considering a doctor, and pay extra attention to their area of expertise.
While not the biggest factor, you want a doctor that you are going to feel comfortable with and get along with. This will ensure that you continue to go to the doctor regularly for checkups, and that you follow their advice. When talking to potential choices for your doctor, try and get a sense to see if they try and make you feel at ease. While expertise and knowledge are likely more important, you still want a doctor that cares about your well-being.
A Doctor That Is Always Improving
Finally, medicine is always changing and getting better, and so you want a doctor that keeps up with the latest innovations, techniques and knowledge. When talking to a doctor, find out what they do to stay at the top of their game. Do they read medical journals? Are they attending seminars to learn new procedures? If so, who are the seminars run by? What conferences are they attending each year?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can then do your own research and see where your doctor is getting their information. For instance, if the doctor says they just attended a training seminar run by Stephen Cosentino, you could then go online and see if the person they are learning from is a reputable source. This may sound like a lot of research and work on your part, but if you end up with a great doctor, it will be worth it.
Take Time With Your Decision
This is a big decision you are making, so take your time with it. If you can, schedule an appointment with each candidate you are considering, and get to know them by asking questions. You may have to pay a fee or a co-payment in order to do this, but it is a good investment. Finding a good doctor may be difficult, but in the end you’ll feel more comfortable with the choice you have made, and place more trust in the person who is helping to ensure you are healthy.