5 Tips for Choosing the Right Doctor

By Edward Dominguez, RN/Licensed School N posted 10-30-2019 23:48

  

Choosing the right doctor is an essential part of ensuring your well-being. A good doctor plays a central role in maintaining your quality-of-life, mental health and keeping your physical health in check. It provides little room for error, since having the right doctor could smoothen the process of getting health services for several years to come. 

When picking a doctor, the factors you’ll have to take into account include convenience, financial and logistics factors. Here are five ways to optimize each of them:

Think about the logistics

Important logistics factors to consider include distance, office hours, and how well their schedule aligns with yours. How many patients do they see in a day? What time of the day do they see those patients? Will you need to ask for time off, or can you go during work hours and on weekends?

Where they are located is equally important. How easy is it to get there? Do you need to take public transportation, and if not, is there ample parking? Lastly, at which hospitals do they operate from, and does your insurance plan cover them?

How available is the doctor?

Some doctors have a lot more restrictive schedules than others. They often have longer sessions and appointments than the average doctor, meaning they see fewer patients and have to restrict themselves in terms of time.

A doctor who’s not available when needed could seriously hamper the quality of care given. This is potentially made worse by the extended wait times that often result from having long sessions or seeing too many patients in a day. In general, it’s best to see a doctor who can make time.

Do a quality check

Like with most services, it’s important to do a quality check before you settle on a doctor. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s possible to get information about the ratings of each doctor on your network and what they specialize in.

More information, such as extra activities the doctor may have taken in to make them even more qualified, might also be included.

The final step is to check whether the doctor you have settled on has been certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties. They maintain a list of primary care doctors that have met the licensing requirements in their states.

Prerequisites for qualification include comprehensive exams. Medical professionals, such as orthopedic surgeons, also have to meet certain expectations to maintain their certification.

Check in with your insurance company

If you have health insurance, check in with the company to find a list of doctors that are covered by your plan’s network. A lot of insurance companies won’t let you pick a doctor that’s outside of the network. If they do, it will cost you significantly more money. Once you’ve received confirmation from your insurance provider, check in with the doctor, too. 

Call or visit the doctor

Finally, visit the doctor’s office to see if everything works out for you. This should help you to settle on factors such as whether the location is convenient enough, how long it takes to wait for an appointment and whether same-day appointments are offered.

A physical visit should help to clear up concerns that cannot be addressed through the information you’ll find online.

Making a call is also a good alternative. It helps to determine whether the doctor’s office is responsive, whether it’s possible to set up a consultation, and other important factors. Their communication style might not suit you, or they might not be friendly enough for your taste, so it’s always good to be sure.

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