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Most of us don’t spend much time thinking about our healthcare providers. By the time we’re contemplating a doctor’s visit, most of us are already in need of an examination or a prescription renewal.
When it comes to seeking out a new doctor, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Almost all of us have had negative experiences with dismissive, patronizing, or misguided medical professionals in the past.
How can we improve the odds of finding a fantastic physician on the first try? Though there’s no simple way to guarantee success, these simple guidelines may assist you in locating the medical care that you deserve.
Make a list of your personal needs.
Before delving into internet research, sit down with a piece of paper and write down all of the criteria your ideal doctor would fulfill. Most individuals will want to seek out doctors who are within their insurance network and have local offices, for instance. If you’re looking for someone who has experience treating a specific health condition, make note of this, too.
Don’t be shy about seeking out exactly the right doctor for you. If you’d be more comfortable opening up to a mature female doctor than a young man fresh out of medical school, admit it. By prioritizing your personal needs, you can more easily discover good matches during the research process.
Consult a wide variety of resources.
In your quest to find the right healthcare provider for you, you’ll likely want to consult a variety of online and offline resources. For many individuals, selecting a doctor that works with their insurance is a top priority. Call your insurance provider or run a search on your provider’s website to discover the doctors that are within your network and local area.
Once you have a basic list of names, you can begin using other resources to further narrow down potential candidates. Whether you’re looking for a new primary care physician or a particular specialist, it may be helpful to ask those in your social circle about their healthcare experiences. If a friend or family member has had a highly positive experience with a particular physician, you may not need to do much further research.
If you haven’t received a personal recommendation from someone you know, online resources can help you discover more about the physicians in your area. Today, there are dozens of online databases and review sites that can be used to review both doctors’ credentials and patients’ experiences. Pay particular attention to the ways in which customers praise and criticize each healthcare provider. If multiple reviews contain similar complaints, you may want to take these factors into account.
If a doctor looks like a good match, consider visiting his or her website to learn more. Seek out other relevant resources, too, such as interviews and video recordings featuring the doctor. If you like what you see, add the doctor to your list of potential physicians.
Look out for possible red and green flags.
If you’re still struggling to find the right doctor, use online databases and review sites to compare the details of the doctors that have made it onto your list. Physicians that have a large number of well-written positive reviews, for instance, may be worth prioritizing over doctors who have received little online feedback. Many database websites also list doctors’ educational histories, awards, hospital affiliations, and medical board records. A well-educated doctor with more than a decade of experience under his belt will likely do a better job than a less-credentialed physician who has been involved in numerous malpractice suits. Though some of this information should be taken with a grain of salt, these data points can certainly help you in weighing your options.
Reflect on other relevant factors.
Though a given doctor’s thoughtfulness and competency are likely the most important criteria in your search for a new healthcare provider, other aspects of the treatment process may also be worth evaluating. An office filled with rude and negligent staff, for instance, might ruin an otherwise positive treatment experience. A doctor with a two-year waiting list may also be a poor choice for you. Perhaps the tools and technological resources available to a doctor at a hospital are inaccessible to a doctor with a small private practice. If these or other treatment factors are important to you, assess them before making your final decision.
When selecting a healthcare provider, it is ultimately most important to go with your gut. Schedule an introductory phone call or first appointment with the physician that appears to be the best fit for you. Does this doctor take the time to listen to you? Are your symptoms being acknowledged, not just the results of your bloodwork? Does this doctor take the time to to explain your condition to you? Most importantly, can you trust him or her? If you’re fundamentally comfortable with the healthcare provider you’ve selected, you’ve likely made the right choice. If not, simply seek out someone new.
Life is too short to subject yourself to subpar medical treatment! Do your research to discover a better doctor today.
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