How to Choose the Best Primary Care Physician
By TLB Contributing Author: Alden
Selecting a primary care physician is an important step when managing your healthcare. You will visit this doctor for most of your medical needs, including non-emergency illnesses, wellness visits, and routine screenings. Some relationships between primary care physicians and patients span decades. According to owners of The Doan Law Firm, as a precaution, you need to keep your lawyer’s name handy in case you need to sue for medical malpractice.
Given the close relationship, as well as the potential of injury, you should choose a person with whom you feel comfortable having honest conversations and choose wisely.
Here are some tips for choosing the best physician:
Look for ‘in-Network’ Doctors
Most health plans usually have discounted and special rates with certain hospitals and doctors in your vicinity, which means that you will pay fewer out-of-pocket costs for in-network doctors. For the purposes of your insurance, you need to choose a doctor who is in-network; this will keep you from selecting a doctor who does not accept your insurance plan.
Once you come up with a list of doctors who are within your network, you should narrow it down.
Many different types of doctors identify as primary care physicians:
Family practice – these doctors can treat people of all ages from newborns to old people. They can treat a wide array of illnesses and usually treat conditions that you would need to see a specialist for, such as women health needs and sports injuries.
General practice – these physicians are like family doctors, as they can treat any gender and age. This is an area of medicine where you might encounter osteopaths who specialize in an alternative medicine that focuses on the musculoskeletal system.
Internal medicine – these doctors usually treat adults and they specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and management of chronic conditions and diseases.
Ask for Referrals
If you would feel more comfortable seeing a physician who has been recommended by your friends or family, then you need to ask for referrals. Ask your friends and families to give you the information of their doctors. If you have a relationship with a healthcare professional, you should consider asking him or her for a referral.
If you are moving to a new location, you should consider asking your current physician to recommend a new doctor from where you are going. Doing so will save you a lot of stress and money.
If you want a doctor who is close to your home, you should make sure that you look at office locations. You also have to consider the office hours as well as the days that your doctor will be available. Do you need to take time off work to visit the doctor or can you just go during the weekends and after work?
Knowing the hospital that the doctor uses to admit patients is essential. The language that the doctor speaks is also important because you need to understand each other. Nowadays, most doctors use online portals and emails to communicate with patients, which is vital if you are a tech-savvy patient who prefers to use the internet for communication.
Visit the Doctor
Nothing will let you know whether you have selected the right doctor like an in-office visit and a personal meeting. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the doctor and nurses before agreeing to be his or her patient. Talk to your potential physician about the medications that you are currently on as well as your medical history to ensure that you are on the same page.
While in the office, you should look at other environmental factors and consider the attitude of those who answer the phone.
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