Your family doctor is an essential part of your family’s health. This means you need to choose the right one. As a parent, you are responsible for your children’s health and safety. When you take this responsibility seriously, you want to have the best doctor possible. If you’re unsure how to choose a family doctor, here are some tips to get you started.
1. Research Your Options
You need to know which doctors are out there, so take some time to look for the options in your area. Once you have them, look up as much information about them as possible. Find out what their office hours are, as well as how far you’ll need to travel in order to get there. If you’re a parent, look into what they do for children. The more information you have to work with, the easier it will be to choose the right doctor. You should ask people you know about their family doctors, then also look online for other options in your area.
2. Look at Credentials
You want to be sure that your doctor knows what they are doing. Each year, about 100,000 Americans die from avoidable medical mistakes. Before you make an appointment and trust your health to a particular doctor, make sure that they have the necessary credentials. If you can, find that information online. If you can’t, you can always call their office and ask for it. Ask where they went to school, what kinds of certifications they have, and how long ago they graduated. All of this information can help you determine if this is the right doctor for your family.
3. Insurance Options
If you have health insurance, your insurance provider might require you to go to certain doctors. While this does limit your options, it can help you save money when you’re getting medical care. Call your insurance company and ask them for a list of doctors they work with. Once you have that list, you can be sure that you’ll find a doctor that you can afford to visit. If you need to switch doctors for insurance reasons, you’ll likely be able to bring your records with you. Over 95% of hospitals and 60% of doctors’ offices use Electronic Health Records to keep track of their patients and which services they use. This can be very helpful as you get a new doctor.
4. Good Communication
Even the best credentials might not work out if your doctor is not a good communicator. You want to work with someone who understands what your concerns are, either as a patient or a parent. For instance, many problems are caused by stress. 70% to 90% of doctor visits in the United States are due to stress. If your doctor doesn’t understand this, it could lead to misdiagnosis and lots of frustration. Find a doctor that you feel comfortable communicating with and you’ll be much more likely to get good results.
5. Trust Your Gut
Sometimes you don’t have a real reason why you trust someone or do not trust them. You just know it in your gut. As you choose a family doctor, trust your gut instincts. If you go to a doctor and feel like it isn’t a good fit, you can always leave that practice. You don’t need to give any reasons. Often, your body will sense a problem that your conscious mind might not catch right away.
Choosing a family doctor is a serious task. You need to make sure you make the right choice for yourself and your family. With these tips, you’ll find it much easier to select the right doctor and get the care that you need.