The search for the right doctor is essentially finding someone whose hands you will put your life into—and possibly your family’s, as well. Pressure’s on, right? You want that person to be qualified and experienced, skillful and knowledgeable, respected and professional. Among other requisites… At the end of the day, you want it to be the perfect fit.
So, where do you possibly begin?
Here are some tips from our very own clinical expert Christine Logue, MSN, RN, CPNP.
- Check your insurance. When you begin your search, be sure to first check your specific insurance plan to see which doctors are in your network. From there, you can narrow down based on the following criteria.
- Determine your health care needs. Looking for a family practice where your kids can go to the same place? Or a specialist that will help you manage a chronic condition? Make sure your provider is experienced with the procedures and care you need.
- Consider hospital affiliation. If it turns out you need hospitalization down the road, you might want to take a look to see where your chosen doctor has admitting privileges. While not everyone has a preference for this, it is good to be aware of where such care would take place in the future.
- Look at their hours and location. Need a place close to home or the office? Or that offers lunch, weekend, or nighttime hours? Determine how important these are to you before you make your decision.
- Find out what kind of technology they use. Do they use or offer an Electronic Health Record (EHR), iPads, video services or patient portals? Can you email or text your provider? These can help assure convenient and efficient visits.
- Keep an eye out for board certification. While most people assume, you want to be sure that the doctor has proper credentials and is of good standing with the state.
- Prioritize what personality style you are looking for. Do you want your provider to be relatable? Up front with facts? Have a calming demeanor? Or perhaps all the above? One of the most important things is the ability to build a relationship with your doctor that fits your preferences. “If you don’t feel comfortable with their style,” Logue says, “how will you be comfortable confiding in them about your health?”
- Visit ahead of time. Have a trial run and pay your potential provider a visit to assure they meet your running checklist on paper just as well as they do in the flesh.
At the end of the day, it’s your health. Always be willing to change providers if they don’t meet your needs. And remember iTriage is here to help you narrow your search.