For many people, finding a new physician can be a difficult task, especially if they’ve recently moved. While they can always turn to their friends and family for recommendations or speak to their current practice, finding someone they feel comfortable establishing a relationship with can be daunting. Here are a few things to consider when starting the hunt for a new general practitioner.
Call the Insurance Company
For individuals with active insurance policies, it’s best to contact a service representative to discuss which doctors are covered under their policy. Working with practitioners outside of their coverage network often leads to increased costs and reduced insurance coverage for prescribed treatments. The insurance provider will have a list of local practices that are covered under each policy and can provide recommendations.
Look at Specialists
While a general practitioner may be able to treat most conditions, they are not always specialists in specific conditions. If a patient has a pre-existing medical diagnosis or was seeing a specialist before moving, they may want to look for a similar practice in the area. Calling their former physician for a recommendation is always one of the best places to start.
Consider Hours of Availability
Life gets busy and finding time to make it to a doctor’s appointment is not easy. For individuals with kids or a demanding work schedule, it’s important to find a physician with hours that can accommodate their availability. Some practices offer early morning appointment times or extended walk-in hours for last minute non-emergency treatment. However, other practices are only open on certain days of the week or during very limited hours.
Ask for Their Qualifications
Not all medical schools carry the same reputation. Before becoming a regular patient, it’s important to ask for the doctor’s qualifications. Find out where they received their medical degree and any additional training. While the prestige of their medical school should not be the sole deciding factor, it can help narrow down a list of potential healthcare professionals.
Research Their Practice
The internet is a great way to gauge a physician’s reputation. Online review sites like Yelp and Facebook can provide insight into patient satisfaction while the Better Business Bureau often sheds light on any billing complications or legal actions taken against the practice. A doctor could be worth consideration if people are leaving positive reviews.
Don’t Be Afraid to Visit a Few Practices
Visiting a doctor to gauge their bedside manner is perhaps the easiest way to make a decision. This gives patients a chance to get to know the doctor and find out if they like their personality. It’s important to find a practice where a patient feels comfortable enough to discuss their medical condition openly. If a doctor or their support staff makes them feel uneasy or nervous when talking about their symptoms, it’s best to keep looking.