One of the most crucial decisions you’ll ever make regarding your health is selecting a primary care physician. Additionally, more people than ever before are looking for a physician they can call their own, in part because of the Affordable Care Act, which has significantly increased the number of people who have health insurance.
Although Yelp and Angie’s List have reviews of doctors, do you want to find a doctor the same way you would a plumber or restaurant? Most likely not.
A growing number of insurance plans require you to select a single physician to be your primary source. This trusted individual can not only assist you with common health issues like the flu or a sprained ankle, but they can also direct you to specialists when necessary and, most importantly, oversee all of your care.
If you know a doctor, nurse, or any other healthcare professional, you should ask them for the names of nearby doctors and practices that they like and trust. That might be more insightful than advice from family or friends. Also, think about what kind of doctor you want. Someone who can look after your entire family? Someone who focuses on older people or women? You can learn more here while you are looking for Dr. Right:
Let The Search Begin
- Make sure you are covered: Find doctors in your network by searching the directory or the website of your insurance company. Call the doctor’s office to find out if they still accept your insurance because doctors frequently change plans.
- Consider affiliation with a hospital: If you need to go to a hospital, the doctor you choose could decide where you go. Therefore, find out where the doctor has admitting privileges.
- Look for board accreditation: A doctor who has earned a medical degree from a recognized medical school, completed three to seven years of accredited residency training, is licensed by a state medical board, and has passed one or more exams administered by a member of the ABMS is considered to be certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Participation in continuing education is required for a doctor to keep their certification.
- Ask about drug reps: Representatives from pharmaceutical companies frequently enter the offices of many doctors to promote their products. That not only consumes a significant amount of the doctor’s time, but it also has the potential to adversely affect his drug selection. This can get patients started on a brand-name medication that may not be the best one for them or may be more expensive. Also, a doctor’s attitude toward drug reps can show how committed he is to practicing medicine based on the best evidence and not industry pressures.
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