Choosing a good primary care doctor is a critical decision to ease the burden and stress of being ill. Especially during these hard times of pandemics, knowing you can truly trust your family practitioner is critical to ensure both your physical and psychological health as well.
You need to trust his or her decisions and build a good, long-lasting relationship. Yet finding the right one can be difficult since you also need a physician who is readily available, close to where you live, and affordable enough as well. To strike a good balance between what you want and what you can really find, and ultimately choose the right doctor, you need to keep a few things in mind. Let’s have a look.
Tip Number 1: What kind of doctor do you want?
The more you know about the hypothetical doctor you’re looking for beforehand, the quicker it will be to find him. If you’re a busy salesman with very free little time available for a visit, you should find a physician who is readily available at any time with just a cold call.
If you suffer from a condition that forces you to bed for extended periods, you might want a doctor who can prescribe medications that can be sent directly to your home. Even better, you might want a family practitioner who’s familiar with telehealth and remote diagnosis, so you can easily liaise with them without having to move.
If you have special medical needs such as diabetes or atrial fibrillation, an internist may help you avoid wasting money and time in referrals since he already has all the additional training in cardiology required.
Some women often suffer from… delicate issues that require additional attention. Maybe a female could help in easing the embarrassment of talking about them. Or if you come from a foreign country, choosing a doctor who understands your religious or cultural needs can also make the difference.
Tip Number Two: Find a doctor who you can afford
Yes, you just found a doctor who’s pretty much fantastic and provides all you need, but are you sure your family budget is high enough to pay their fees? Although your health is (literally) vital, if you cannot afford the high prices of a given doctor, just skip them. Depending on your healthcare insurance, some practitioners are simply too costly for your family budget to be afforded. At the same time, do not simply choose the least expensive one, unless you trust him to be good enough.
Many insurers offer you special discount plans if you search for the optimal candidate within their network. However, check all the details for that plan: some charges such as hospital or lab fees can quickly add up, especially if you have a high deductible or if you must co-pay them.
Tip Number Three: How much is this doctor available and accessible?
Sometimes, a one-hour drive each way just to reach your family doctor’s for a quick visit is not worth your time. Especially if you live in a large city where traffic can be a problem, checking the exact location of your doctor is of paramount importance. Since you’re already ill, the last thing you want is to spend a full afternoon stuck in traffic with a high fever.
Many physicians have more than one practice location, however, making your life much easier. Availability is also quite important as well. Depending on your needs, having to wait a week for a visit might not be an option at all. What about emergency calls and last-minute appointments – would he be available? Are these contingent events important to you?
If your working life never gives you the chance to catch a breath, choose a doctor who is also available during night shifts or at least weekends. Also, try to know beforehand if he is really able to manage his appointments. There’s no use to get to his office in due time, and then have to wait in the waiting room for a full hour.
One last quick tip you should always keep in mind is to check other patients’ reviews before choosing your doctor. Let other people who dealt with him or her tell you how good he is, either by word of mouth or by searching some reviews online.
Not every physician is equally skilled, yet no perfect doctor exists as well. You should try to find the right one that really suits your needs and build a good relationship with him. We’re talking about your health, after all, so trusting the right person will make all the difference in this world.