Your insurance has changed or maybe you have been given a diagnosis that requires a specialist to treat you. You are looking for a new doctor and don’t really know where to start. The following information might be helpful as you begin your search for a new physician.
- Ask your friends, family or your current doctor (if you are looking for a specialist) who they use and if they are happy. It is always reassuring to receive a name from someone you know and trust.
- Read the reviews online for your doctor. Not only check out the number of stars they are given, but read the reviews to see if this would be a person you want to work with long-term. Do they listen carefully to your concerns? Are they easy to talk to? Do they explain things fully to you, so you understand the issues and options? How much time do they spend with their patients? How long does it take to get an appointment? Are they willing to call or email you with results?
- Check out where they went to college and any specialized training they may have. A doctor’s profile should include where they went to medical school and which hospital attended for their internship/residency . The magazine US World and News Report does an issue each year ranking the best hospitals in the United States. It’s worth a look to see if your prospective physician did their under graduate work at one of these hospitals.
- If this is a concern for you, do they incorporate alternative modes of care with Western Medicine? Are they supportive of supplements, acupuncture and other modalities of care? Do you see them each visit or do you see a nurse practitioner after the initial consult?
- There are professional groups who review physicians. Check with them. At minimum Google your doctor. In this day and age, a lot can be learned from this easy source of information. Call the Medical Board to see if any complaints or legal actions have been filed against them.
- Check to see if the doctor accepts your insurance and if they are in the network. A quick call can save you a lot of money if the answer is no to either of the above. If you are on Medicare, and need an injection, make sure the provider’s office will bill both part D and Part B of Medicare. The trend these days is to have your injections done at the pharmacy, but are you OK with that?
- How does it feel when you walk into the office? A lot can be learned by how you feel about the people up front. Do they have a lab on site? Can they do X-rays? It all depends on what your needs are.
- If you rely on public transportation, are there offices on a bus line or within walking distance. Do they validate parking if you are driving?
These are just guidelines to use in your search. Sometimes it all comes down to how your gut feels about the person. Good luck with your search.