It’s hard to know How to Find the Right Doctor. In today’s post, we are going to help you with this seemly hard, but important task!
Approximately 20 percent of adults in the U.S. report never going to the doctor.
There are plenty of reasons why this might be the case. These can be from a lack of insurance to a lack of access to one in their areas. Many people also aren’t sure how to go about finding a doctor they like who’s also qualified to provide them with the specific care they need.
How to Find the Right Doctor For Your Situation
If this last point resonates with you, we’re here to help. Read on for some tips that will help you figure out how to find the right doctor for your situation.
Why Regular Doctor Visits Matter
Some people want to go to the doctor but don’t know how to choose the right one. Others are convinced that they don’t need to see the doctor regularly (and, therefore, do not need to find a doctor) because they’re already in good health.
In reality, regular doctor’s visits matter for everyone, including those who aren’t showing any outward signs of health problems. There are lots of reasons to see the doctor regularly, including the following:
- Prevent future health problems
- Catch issues early, before they become serious
- Reduce your need for expensive emergency room or Urgent Care visits
- Develop a relationship for more natural communication in the future
This last point is especially important. You might feel fine now, but chances are you aren’t always going to feel this way. If you’ve already established care with a physician, it’ll be easier for you to tell them what’s going on and get the help you need without awkwardness or embarrassment.
How to Find the Right Doctor
Okay, you understand that you need to see a doctor more often. If you’re not sure where to go from here, start by following these guidelines. They’ll help you narrow down your options and find a doctor who’s a good fit for you:
Know Your Needs
Start by getting clear about what you need from your doctor.
Are you looking to establish care with a primary care physician? Do you need to work with a specialist, like a dermatologist or a gastroenterologist? Are you interested in seeing an alternative care provider, like a functional or integrative medicine doctor?
Consider your symptoms and what you want to get out of the appointment to narrow your search and ensure you’re only meeting with people who have the tools needed to help you.
Ask for a Referral
Once you know what you want and need, consider reaching out to friends or family members and asking for a referral. Find out if they see a doctor similar to the type you need and ask if they would recommend them for you.
While you likely shouldn’t trust your friends’ recommendations implicitly (everyone’s situation is unique, after all), this can still be a good starting point.
Consider Your Insurance
If you have health insurance, take a look at your policy, so you understand the limits of your coverage.
Many insurance policies require you to see a physician who’s within your network and accepts your insurance plan. Look up this information now, so you’re not taken aback by a massive bill later.
Most of the time, you can use your insurance provider’s website to find out what you need to know about the doctors who are available to you. If you have questions, though, be sure to call and ask before scheduling an appointment.
Do Your Research
Once you have a list of potential doctors who are covered by your insurance, please do some research to learn more about them.
Check to see where they went to school, what they specialize in, and how long they’ve been practicing. You may want to check and see if they’re affiliated with any professional organizations. Also, verify that their license if up to date.
These days, you can find online reviews for just about everything, including doctors. If you’re leaning toward a particular doctor or trying to decide between a few good options, your next step is to read their reviews.
Check out third-party review sites (which provide a more objective view) to learn more about past patients’ experiences. Are they happy with the treatment they received? Would they go back to this doctor again in the future?
Schedule an Appointment
Eventually, if you want to know if a particular doctor is a good fit, you have to go ahead and schedule an appointment.
Reach out to the doctor who seems like the best option and find out when they can see you. Doing this can also help you narrow your search, as you might not want to wait to see a doctor who’s booked out for three months.
Consider the Environment
When you arrive for your appointment, pay close attention to the environment of the clinic, as well as the treatment you receive.
Are the people who work there (doctors, nurses, receptionists, etc.) polite and professional? Are you treated promptly? Does it seem clean and well-maintained?
Consider how much attention you receive from the doctor, too. Do they seem in a hurry, or do they take the time to explain everything to you without continually looking at their watch?
Trust Your Instincts
Finally, remember to trust your instincts.
You must find a doctor who is committed to your health. If you get any bad vibes from a particular doctor or doctor’s office, it’s okay to continue your search and see someone else later.
Make an Appointment With a Doctor Today
The idea of finding a doctor can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you’re already feeling unwell or haven’t been to the doctor in a long time. Keep these tips in mind, though, and the process of figuring out how to find the right doctor will become a lot easier.
If, between now and your doctor’s appointment, you need some additional insight into a particular health issue, be sure to visit the Health section of our website. You’ll find lots of helpful resources here that you can use to guide your visit and get the most out of it.