Whether you’ve moved to a new area or changed health insurance providers, getting a primary care doctor is a priority. Finding a doctor you trust and feel comfortable with requires a bit of research.
Before you begin your search, make sure you understand your health insurance requirements. With most providers, you must choose a primary care physician who will manage your care and refer you to specialists as needed. If you’re in a network plan, you’ll probably need to find an enrolled doctor; if you are allowed to see outside doctors, you will pay more than you would with an in-network doctor or service.
How to find a good doctor who is right for you
If you can, ask a health professional to recommend doctors in your area. You can also do some research online. Here are some steps you can take during your search:
1. Find out which doctors are in your area.
Narrow your list by location so you can determine if a doctor’s practice is convenient to get to.
2. Determine hospital affiliations.
If you have a hospital near you or one you prefer, make sure any doctor you’re considering is affiliated with the facility. If you are not sure which hospital you prefer, check Here.
3. Take a look at your licenses.
Check to make sure a doctor’s license to practice is current in certification. The Administrators in Medicine (AIM) docfinder.com helps you find out if a doctor’s license is current and if any complaints or disciplinary actions have been filed against him. To find out if a doctor is board certified, visit certificationmatters.com.
4. Try before you buy.
Do not hesitate to make changes if you find that you are not completely satisfied after a visit to the doctor. If it doesn’t seem right to you, try another primary care doctor. Was the staff friendly and helpful? How was your waiting time? Most importantly, did you like the doctor?
5. Remember that compatibility is important.
According to the nonprofit Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs, a 2014 survey shows that more than 50 percent of people in the United States pay more attention to personality and relationships when choosing a doctor. Clearly, care delivery is important. You want a doctor who will listen to you, answer your questions, and explain diagnosis and treatment in a way you can understand.
When it’s time to find a new general practitioner to guide your care, do your homework. Once you’ve chosen someone, make an appointment and make sure the doctor is right for you. This is the type of decision that is very personal and is based on a combination of trust, experience, and how you feel about the doctor.