Choosing a primary care physician is a vital first step toward managing your healthcare. Your primary care physician serves as your medical "home." It is the doctor you see for most of your medical requirements, including wellness checks and routine screenings, non-emergency diseases such as earaches and sore throats, and the person you chat with about your health problems and concerns. If you have a health maintenance organization, your primary care physician will also refer you to a specialist. Nonetheless, you should choose someone with whom you feel comfortable having open and honest conversations, who know the areas that suit your health needs, and who is "in-network" with your health insurance plan.
Therefore, here are five tips for choosing a new primary care physician near you.
1. Find Out About The doctors "In the Network."
Most healthcare plans have negotiated special, discounted rates with specific doctors and hospitals in your locality, and you may pay less out of pocket when you visit such doctors, who are referred to as "in-network" for insurance purposes. Choosing an "in-network" doctor will help you avoid a surprise "out-of-network" charge or having to pay out of pocket in full because the doctor you've chosen does not accept your insurance plan.
2. Ask for Referrals
Many people prefer to see a doctor who has been suggested by someone they know, such as a family member, coworker, or acquaintance. Ask your friends and family who their doctors are. You can also seek advice from another healthcare provider with whom you have a relationship, such as a women's primary care physician, a pharmacist, or even your dentist. If you are relocating, ask your present doctor for a suggestion for your new area.
3. Consider Logistics Before Finding A Doctor Near You
Do you prefer a doctor who is close to your home or office? Look for doctors who have an office location that is handy for you. You should also think about office hours: what days and times does the doctor see patients? Will you have to take time off work to visit the office, or will you be able to go after work or on weekends? It's also a good idea to look into the hospital where the doctor admits patients.
4. Google’s “Near me” Services
Google has added a new search phrase, "near me," that allows you to look up points of interest, activities, and important locales. You should have no trouble finding local museums, new restaurants, or, in your case, doctors. The feature will provide you with their exact location as well as contact information. These locations are also rated and described in the feature.
5. Visit the Doctor
Nothing beats an office visit and a face-to-face meeting to determine whether you've chosen the proper doctor. Make sure you feel at ease in the office and with the doctor and nurses. Your primary care physician (PCP) should be someone you can trust to help you manage your healthcare. Discuss about your current medication and your medical history with him or her to ensure you are comfortable with him when managing any chronic diseases.
Finding a doctor near you is important, but finding the right doctor is more important. With the tips described here, you can begin your search for the right doctor in your area and build a relationship that lasts long.