Everyone, at some point, has to visit a doctor. How do you choose who to put your trust in when it comes to your health and well-being? With so many healthcare professionals available, it can be tough to navigate which one is right for you and your family.
Should you choose a family medicine doctor, pediatrician or internal medicine doctor? The best healthcare professional(s) for your family will depend on many factors. Let’s explore this a little further.
What are the important things to look for when deciding who my primary care physician should be?
It’s imperative to do some research on physicians and the services they offer before deciding on the provider that’s best for your needs. Don’t commit blindly to a physician before looking into the following topics:
- Physician Reputation
- Consider Proximity
- Assess Insurance Coverage
- Schedule an In-Person Meeting
- Trust your Instincts
1) Research Physician Reputation
In this digital age, word of mouth can travel quickly– especially in the healthcare industry. If you’re wondering about patient satisfaction or what to expect at an appointment with a physician you’re considering, a simple search of reviews and testimonials will help you learn what other patients’ experiences have been like.
ProTip: Use online reputation management websites like RateMDs, Doctors.com, or Healthgrades.com to research credentials and other background information when you’re deciding which primary care physician is best for you.
2) Consider Proximity
While searching for a primary care physician, keep in mind that you might need to visit them frequently in any given period of time, so if you find a physician you think would be a great fit for you, but their office is considerably far from home, you may want to look at other practices for convenience’s sake. Think about how far from work you may be willing to drive for an appointment, too, so you can avoid taking more time off during the workday for an appointment than necessary.
3) Assess Insurance Coverage
If you have health insurance, check your benefits. You’re most likely paying monthly for medical coverage and it’s a smart decision to contact your insurance provider to see what physicians are in your network. Primary care physicians that are out-of-network usually require visits to be paid out-of-pocket, which can become costly. If you have more than one person on your insurance plans, such as a spouse or children, dollars can add up quickly. Choosing an-in network physician (in most cases) guarantees a fixed copay fee for any visit.
4) Schedule an In-Person Meeting
Wouldn’t you like to meet the physician and healthcare team that you are putting trust in for your health? A doctor is someone you should be able to rely on for any health concern or need. It’s also important to maintain an open communication relationship that will last in the years to come. Meeting your physician in-person will help you feel better about the decision you’re making in the long run.
5) Trust Your Instincts
When you’re ready to choose your primary care physician, go with your gut feeling. Here are some things to consider:
- Do you trust that person and feel safe and secure around them?
- Do you believe they will give you honest medical advice?
- Do you feel that they care about your overall well being, and are they willing to help you be the healthiest you that you can be?
Weigh any pros and cons you might be feeling about your candidates and let those pros help make your choice.
Specialists are Available
If you believe you might have a specific health problem or concern, you may want to visit a primary care physician first and let them know what is going on. They will then be able to refer you to a specialist based on your needs. Don’t be afraid to be honest– doctors are there to help!
Only Choose a Primary Care Physician Once You are Absolutely Comfortable With Your Decision
Ultimately, your health is of the utmost importance. Healthcare professionals are trained to listen and accommodate to your needs. Choosing a primary care physician is a decision that you should take seriously, so don’t rush yourself– trustworthiness should be your primary requirement.
At Pasadena Health Center, we want you to be comfortable with the primary care physician you choose for your family. Contact us to learn more about how to select the healthcare professional that will best fit your needs.