7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Primary Care Physician
There are approximately 209,000 primary care physicians in the United States. For people choosing a primary care physician to help care for their families, that number can feel overwhelming.
With so many doctors to choose from, how do you make the right choice for your family?
The best thing you can do is approach your search calmly. Here are a few things you’ll need to consider when choosing a doctor for yourself and your family.
1. Pay Attention to Your In-Network List
If you don’t have health insurance, you’re able to choose a doctor without having to worry about the types of insurance plans they accept. However, if you have health insurance, you’ll want to look at doctors that your insurance company considers as being in-network.
Doctors in your network are familiar with your insurance company and plans. They’re also able to offer you better prices for their services based on your insurance coverage.
The best way to find out which doctors in your area are in-network is to call your insurance provider. They’ll be able to give you a list of the available physicians in your area.
Keep in mind that you’re not required to choose a doctor from that list, but doing so will make receiving medical care more affordable.
2. Ask the People You Know
It never hurts to get referrals from the people you know and trust. Don’t hesitate to ask around.
Your friends, family, and neighbors probably have family doctors they’re happy with and can give you a referral. If you’re not established in the area or aren’t comfortable asking the people around you, call your old doctor and ask their advice.
Chances are, they’ll be able to connect you with a physician that you’ll trust and feel comfortable working with for years to come.
3. Make Sure Their Office Is Conveniently Located
One of the most significant considerations you need to keep in mind when choosing a new doctor is the location of their office. The closer they are to your home, the better it will be for your family.
The last thing you want to do is have to drive across town to receive medical care when you’re feeling unwell.
As you narrow your choices down, think about the routes you’d take to get to their office. If they’re too far away or traffic patterns make getting to their office difficult, it may be best to keep looking.
4. Research Their Reputations in Detail
Once you have a few doctors in mind, take the time to research their reputations. Start by looking at reviews online and see what others have to say about their quality of care and the way the office staff treats patients.
If most of the reviews are positive, you’ll likely receive the same experience as a patient. However, if several reviews bring up similar concerns or mention issues they had with the doctor or support staff, keep looking.
It’s also a good idea to contact your state’s Department of Health to ask for the disciplinary record for the doctors you’re considering working with. A reputable will have a clean disciplinary record without any complaints or concerns filed against them.
If a doctor has a record of complaints filed with the state, continue your search.
5. Call Their Office
Unfortunately, some doctors will be at capacity for patients and won’t be able to take new patients when you’re looking. The only way to find out is to call their office.
Their support staff will be able to tell you if they have room for you and your family.
Use this conversation as a way to gauge the quality of their support staff’s customer service. Remember, choosing a family doctor isn’t just about selecting the doctor themselves. You’re also going to need to work with their office staff to handle billing and appointment scheduling.
If you’re not comfortable with either, it’s not the right practice for your family.
6. Consider How They Work With Your Values and Needs
Every family is different, and, unfortunately, some doctors allow their personal biases to influence the quality of their care. Before you schedule an appointment with them, make sure they won’t compromise your values or dismiss the needs of your family.
If possible, schedule an in-person meeting with the doctor and discuss your concerns. Remember, it’s better to find out that they don’t align with your values before you need to rely on them for medical treatment.
If you can’t schedule an in-person appointment, try to schedule a phone consultation.
Reputable and trustworthy doctors will take the time to listen to your needs and concerns. The right doctor for your family will take the time to ease those concerns.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Keep Looking
Choosing a new doctor isn’t easy. You need to make sure you’re comfortable with them, their staff, and the location before you agree to use them as your primary care physician.
If anything doesn’t feel right or you don’t like the way they interact with you, keep looking. It’s okay if the search takes time, and it’s far more critical that you find a doctor you can trust than it is to choose the first one with an open appointment.
Choosing a Primary Care Physician Can Be Tough
Looking for a new doctor is never simple, but once you find one you feel comfortable with, you’ll be in good hands for years to come. Just remember to take your time.
Choosing a primary care physician is mostly a matter of personal preference. Get to know the doctors in your area and work with one that is happy to take care of you and your family.
Looking for more tips to help your family stay healthy and take care of their overall wellness? Check out our latest posts.