You wouldn’t trust your car to just any old mechanic, would you? So when it comes to your health, obviously the stakes are much higher. And choosing a qualified doctor will ensure your health (and that of your family) is in good hands.
Unfortunately, when it comes to knowing a qualified, empathetic, available, and patient-focused health care provider, many of us aren’t sure what to look for. That’s exactly why we’re providing a collection of eight things to look for when it comes to picking the perfect health practitioner…
1. Seek Recommendations
Word of mouth from family, friends, and neighbors in a new community can often be the best way to find a qualified, friendly, and competent doctor. And if you’re totally new to the community and don’t know anyone to ask, seek references from you local community center or online where you can often read reviews from patients who have dealt with the doctor for years.
2. Ask for Credentials
Any board certified (which means the doctor has completed the required residency training post medical school) is on file with the American Board of Internal Medicine and any doctor’s office will be able to provide you with this information if you ask to know when and where the doctor was certified.
3. Do you Need a Specialist?
Gynecologists specialize in the female body, family practitioners can deal with patients of all ages, internist provide the best senior care, and cardiologists specialize in the heart—you see, there are all different types of doctors available to you. So sometimes it’s best to pick a physician with a specialty if your health requires specific care.
4. Doctor-Patient Care
When it comes to looking for medical care, many preferences come to mind. Do you want empathy, straight shooting health information, open communication, time for all of your health concerns to be addressed? Choose a doctor with a bedside manner that treats you with respect and treats you how you expect to be treated by your health care professional.
5. Office Organization
If the doctor is great, but the front office staff loses information and appointment times, that’s just no good. Every medical practice is structured differently—some are terribly busy with tons of patients; while others focus on knowing each patient’s name and health background personally. You have to decide what matters most to you and your health and look for a doctor’s office that mirrors that philosophy.
6. Diagnosis Delivery
If you have a lab test done via your doctor’s office (i.e., a pap test, a colon screening), how do you expect to hear the results? Keep in mind that many physicians’ offices live by the adage “no news is good news”; others send a letter or make a phone call either way. Go with a doctor that provides lab results in the most comfortable way for you or else you may feel a lot of anxiety around routine screenings and blood tests.
7. Insurance Coverage
You may have found the best doctor in the world, but that won’t matter much if they aren’t covered under your insurance plan or if they don’t participate in your insurance plan. That’s why it’s vital to ask what the plan covers and what it doesn’t—that way, you’re not shocked by expensive out of pocket charges.
8. Insurance Claims
In addition to insurance acceptance, how the doctor’s office processes insurance claims may be important as well. For instance, some offices will submit your claims for you so that you don’t have to cover the payment out of pocket and get a check in the mail. However, others will expect a payment out of pocket with weeks in between your receiving money back from your insurance company. Some doctor’s offices won’t even submit claims on your behalf.