You and your doctor (primary care provider) share an important relationship.
List Your Priorities
Before you start your search, think about what’s important to you in a doctor. Be sure to consider the doctor’s office, too. Then, write down some questions. For example:
What type of doctor is he or she? What is his or her focus?
If you have a preexisting medical issue, like diabetes, does that doctor have experience with your condition?
Does the doctor’s office accept your insurance?
Which hospital does the doctor refer to?
Is the office near your home?
What are the office hours?
Is the doctor or staff nurse able to answer your questions over the phone? Is e-mail an option?
Tap Friends and Neighbors
One of the best ways to find a good doctor is by talking to people you trust. Ask your family and friends which doctor they see. Find out what they like about their doctor. If you are new to an area, you can call a hospital or medical school for referrals. Make a list of the doctors you would like to see.
Ask Lots of Questions
Call the doctor’s office first on your list. Ask to speak with a nurse or the office manager. Find out if the doctor meets your needs. Then see if he or she is accepting new patients. It’s always wise to call your insurance company directly to verify coverage for a particular doctor.
Schedule an initial visit with the doctor. Then, ask yourself the following questions. Did the doctor:
Spend enough time with me?
Make me feel comfortable?
Answer my questions?
Explain things so I could understand?
Remember, you and your doctor are a team. Take the time to make sure you have the right partner.