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Steps to Finding the Right Doctor to Care for your Family

 

Selecting a qualified doctor you trust to care for your entire family is very important. They are your entire world, and you want the best for them. It doesn’t matter if they just need routine checkups or anyone has an ongoing health issue. You want to make sure your needs and the needs of your family are taken care of quickly and efficiently at that doctor’s office.

This is a very important decision for the well-being of your household, and you should take your time to find the right doctor. With the changes to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, more people have health insurance coverage than ever before. This also means more people are searching for the right doctor to care for their families.

It can be difficult and it can take time to find information about potential doctors, but it is worth it. You should check out reviews online but you want to go beyond just social media information. Following these steps, you can make progress with your quest to find that information.

Hard to Change

You never want to select a doctor at random and hope for the best. The care you and your family receive needs to be top notch at every single visit. Your insurance plan may require you to select a doctor and you are locked into it. In order to go to a specialist, you will often need a referral from your primary care physician. When you can openly communicate with your doctor, you are more likely to be happy with your health care services.

Gather Information

In order to successfully search for information about any doctor, you need to gather some basic information. This includes their name and the name of their practice. You need to make sure they are taking new patients, they accept your insurance plan, and they offer services for your entire family. Find out what hospitals they are approved to see patients in as well. You want to make sure they can come there to care for you should you or a family member be admitted to a local hospital.

Certification

You neve want to see any doctor that doesn’t have board certification in the states where you reside. In fact, it is illegal for them to practice without such licensing and you should report them immediately. Board certification means they have completed their medical degree from an accredited college program, completed their required residency, and they have passed their state board exam. A good website to review is www.certifiationmatters.org.

Red Flags

You should always be on the lookout for any red flags that indicate a particular doctor may not be the best candidate for your family to consider. If they have several disciplinary actions against them or lawsuits for malpractice you want to keep on looking. Some doctors have been in trouble for abusing substances or for sexual conduct and you want to stay away from them. You may not realize it, but often a doctor can still practice with such complaints as long as they are actively in treatment.

Personal Relationship

You want a personal relationship with your doctor. You need to feel comfortable to call them for anything you need. You need to feel relaxed with them and able to share your needs. You need to feel listened to and get your questions answered. When you are greeted warmly and they genuinely care about your family and their needs, it shows. Don’t settle for a doctor that doesn’t do this for you.

The personal relationship should extend beyond the doctor too. You want the receptionist to be friendly and help you get information or to schedule appointments. The nurses should be well trained and also treat everyone well when they come in for any appointment.

Drug Reps

Ask the tough questions in a medical office. For example, do they work with drug reps? If so, they may be getting money in return for prescribing certain medications for their patients. This is fine as long as those medications are warranted for the patients and they work! If they are just trying to make more money for themselves though, that doesn’t show much of a commitment to the needs of the patients.

Policies

Each medical office can have different policies. It is important to learn about them and agree to them before you become a patient. What is the typical timeframe for getting an appointment? If it is more than a few days, that may not work out well when someone in your family is ill. Some offices strive to make same day or next day appointments for illnesses.

What types of services do they offer? Do they have a phone number you can call after hours? Do they offer walk in services for lab work? You want the office to work efficiently for your needs. It is best if you can go to one doctor for all your family needs, with the exception of specialty services. This includes routine checkups, sports physicals, and illness.

Technology Used

Many medical practices rely on plenty of technology. Not only for the services they offer, but how they maintain their records. Ask if they have a patient portal as this will give you access to your visits, your treatment plans, and your medications by logging into your account. You may be able to schedule appointments and request medication refills through the portal as well. The goal is to make sure it is very convenient for you to access your information when you need it.

Resources to Consider

Make sure you put forth the effort to find out details about a doctor before you become a patient. If you aren’t happy with your doctor, it is time to find a new one for you and your family. Here are some resources you can turn to in order to help you gather information to base your decision upon.

  • AMA DoctorFinder
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  • Castle Connolly
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  • National Committee for Quality Assurance
  • Physician Compare
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  • S. News & World Report
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