If you’re serious about your health, you should find a primary care doctor whom you can entirely trust. In this article, you’ll find valuable recommendations on how to detect such a professional.
The better rapport you establish with your primary care doctor, the more efficiently you’ll be able to prevent and cure health conditions. An ideal medical professional should have extensive experience, be empathic and ready to work with patients whose needs are similar to yours. They should remember your health goals, lifestyle, treatment preferences and the nuances of your medical history. From this article, you’ll get to know how to find a perfect primary care doctor in your area and select the best specialist from multiple candidates.
Ask For Advice
Most likely, your friends and family members can recommend to you an empathic and experienced medical professional. Yet it doesn’t mean that this doctor will suit you too because all patients are different. You might want to shortlist the best candidates and visit them one by one to detect your dream doctor.
Make Sure You’ve Got Coverage
Check whether the candidates from your short list are ready to work with your health plan. If you see a doctor outside your plan’s network, you might need to pay more.
Map It Out
You should look for a primary care doctor in your area. No one knows when and how often you might need to see them — and you won’t want to travel very far when you’re not feeling good. Feel free to use find a doctor near me apps and online services to compare the best professionals from your neighborhood.
Do A Quality Check
On dedicated apps and sites, you can also find ratings of medical professionals and people’s impartial reviews about them. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can also check with your insurance company to see if they provide any information about the quality ratings of specific primary care doctors in your network.
You might want to assess the following parameters of each candidate:
- Additional training
- Board certifications
- Medical degree
Board-certified primary care doctors have met the licensing requirements of their states and passed comprehensive exams in internal medicine. Certificates confirm that the medical professional keeps up with the latest developments in their field and will be able to give you up-to-date advice.
Place A Cold Call
It doesn’t need to be a long conversation. Sometimes, just one minute might be enough for you to assess the professionalism of the medical staff. What will the assistant tell you if the doctor is very busy? Will they apologize for being not able to offer you an appointment in the next few days? Or will they promise you to do their best to fit you in even though it might not happen until next month? The etiquette of the office staff is a telltale sign of the quality of medical services.
Ask About Logistics
A perfect primary care doctor won’t make you come to their office too frequently unless that is absolutely necessary. During the initial call, you might want to ask them the following questions:
- Do they offer same-day appointments?
- How long do patients usually sit in the waiting room?
- How will they let you know about test results?
- Will you be able to email your doctor or schedule appointments online?
- Will the office call to remind you if you’re overdue for an annual screening or a flu shot?
More and more doctors today support virtual appointments. Even if you have never tried this type of service before, you might want to find a medical professional who offers it. Ask them in advance how easy it is to schedule a virtual appointment. While talking to you remotely, the doctor will be able to analyze your symptoms, share recommendations on pain relief and tell you which medical tests you should have and how urgently.
Keep Your Needs In Mind
Find a doctor who specializes in patients of your type. For instance, if you have diabetes or another chronic condition, you should look for a professional with extensive expertise in this sphere. The older the patient, the more chronic conditions they are likely to have. If you have multiple complex medical issues, you might consider seeing a geriatrician — it’s a doctor who specializes in taking care of older patients.
Get To Know Your Doctor’s Philosophy
You might want to ask the following questions:
- Why did this person choose this profession?
- What do they enjoy the most about being a primary care doctor?
- What do they wish more patients would do after they leave their office?
If you and your doctor share an identical set of values, you should be more eager to follow their advice.
Avoid Culture Shock
An ideal medical professional should be culturally aware and respectful toward your ideas and traditions. For instance, if your religious beliefs go against certain types of treatment, the doctor should discuss any potential alternatives with you. They should be tolerant toward any customs, preferences and taboos their patients might have.
Trust Your Gut
After you see a new doctor for the first time, you should thoroughly analyze your feelings and impressions immediately after you leave their office. On your way back home, try to ask yourself the following questions:
- Did you feel at ease with this person?
- Did they show any interest in getting to know you?
- Did you get exhaustive and comprehensive answers to all your questions?
If you are not 100% sure that this professional is an ideal fit for you, you might want to try another one.
Hopefully, this article came in handy and now it will be easier for you to find an excellent primary care doctor. Ask your friends and family members for advice, map it out and make sure you’ve got coverage. Do a quality check, place a cold call in the doctor’s office and ask them whether they are set up for virtual appointments. Keep your needs in mind, avoid culture shock and trust your gut. When you find a doctor whom you feel comfortable with, that should maximize your odds for a positive outcome with any health condition.