Nothing is more important than your health, so the last thing that you want to do is to entrust your health to a physician with whom you do not feel comfortable. That is why it is important to take the time to do your research before you commit to a family care physician. Thankfully, there are several easy ways to determine better which family care physician will be right for you. Following are some steps that you can take to find your family care physician.
Check with Your Insurance Company
The first step to any search for a family care physician should start with your insurance. Many people are limited by the doctors that are covered by their health insurance. Before you commit to any family care physician, be sure to contact your insurance company or visit their website to see the doctors that are within your network. Once you have confirmed this list, you may then contact the doctors themselves to reconfirm that you are covered.
There are a plethora of resources available to you on the internet to find the right family care physician. Website such as RateMDs and Health Grades are open resources for you to search for the physicians in your area and see what other people are saying about them. These websites work on a star rating system. As more and more patients visit those physicians, they gain more star ratings and reviews, which allow you to understand better if they are well-suited for you. These websites are also a great resource for you to see if your family care physician is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. If they are, this means that they underwent intensive training and studying to past additional examinations after finishing their schooling.
Ask for Recommendations
Once you have found a list of physicians that are both within your insurance network and have good reviews online, you may then turn to your family and friends. When you are selecting a family care physician, some of the best resources can be the people around you. The chances are good that someone you know was in the same position as you not too long before you and they can provide you with some tips about the family care physicians in your area that they found best. You may also be in a position to ask your current healthcare professional. For instance, if you are relocating or your current doctor is retiring, you may ask them if they have any recommendations for who to turn to next.
Be Sure to Ask Questions
Once you have gone through the compiling a list of physicians to choose from, it is then time to get personal with them and begin contacting the ones that interest you. The family care physicians that you contact are going to be expecting that you ask questions. Some doctors opt to answer these on their website since they are frequently asked, but there may be some that you have to contact directly. Good questions to ask, recommend by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are: Is the doctor taking any new patients? If so, are they the only doctor at that practice? If they are not the only doctor, who are the other doctors that may see and treat you? Does the family care physician have any specialized training or certifications?
After you have gone through the vetting process, you can then make an appointment with the physician that appears to fit you best. At that first appointment, be sure that you assess how that physician makes you feel, how they provided their care, and how their staff—nurses and front desk associates—treated you. If you do not feel comfortable, it may be time to consider another physician.