How to Pick the Right Doctor for You
To any individual, health should be the top priority, which is why finding the best doctor to treat your illness is vital. While the process of picking a doctor can seem like a daunting task, here are a few things you can look for to help you make your decision. Like most people, you may have an insurance plan issued by your employer. Every year, you may have to re-enroll in the insurance plan. Sometimes the insurance plans change completely. When this happens you may end up having to change to a new insurance plan. Or you may need to find a new healthcare provider.
Either way, this can be challenging. But change is inevitable. It’s how you embrace change that makes the difference. However, for a person living with diabetes, it is important to establish care with the best healthcare provider. It is also important to have regularly scheduled follow-ups. This is necessary to have your diabetes monitored.
Before you start searching far and wide for a new doctor in pediatrics, it’s important that your physician meets certain basic criteria including their ability to take new patients at the time, acceptance of your particular health insurance plan, proximity to your home, and convenient office hours for you and your family. This checklist alone may drastically limit your options. When you have a sick child or an emergency situation, you want to make sure you are able to get to your doctor quickly and that your insurance will be accepted at their office.
Your primary care physician may employ a mid-level provider. An example would be a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. Politely insist on being seen by your primary care physician at least on alternate visits to the office. You gain the personal touch and connection of developing a relationship with your doctor.
Necessity tips’ to ensure that you are picking a doctor of your greatest interest
Ask Family and Friends for Recommendations. Many parents find a great doctor for their child through recommendations from friends and family. This is a great place to inquire because they can give you insight into the doctor’s treatment style, true availability, and overall demeanor when interacting with patients. It’s important to feel comfortable with your child’s doctor, and if your relatives have had success with a certain physician in pediatrics, that’s a good indicator that you are likely to have a positive experience as well.
Make sure that your doctor carries an unrestricted medical license to practice in the state. This sounds like common sense. But it’s not. Also, check with the state licensing board. Find out whether there have been any bad reports made against the physician.
Find out whether the doctor has current malpractice insurance coverage. In some states, malpractice premiums are very high. Some physicians may decide not to carry malpractice insurance. However, they need to let you know this. It’s probably not the greatest idea to establish care with such a physician. It’s just like driving without insurance. Malpractice insurance is simply the ‘cost of doing business’. So make sure that your physician is committed enough to his business by carrying malpractice insurance. You can check to see whether there have been any malpractice claims made against the physician. This does not have to prevent you from deciding to establish care with that physician. But at least you will know.
Find out if your doctor is board certified. Board certification is an important yardstick. It is important that a physician keeps up with the current medical trends. Board certification is a standard test that determines that. Before the 1990s, board certification was done only once. It was valid for the entire professional career of a physician. There have been rapid changes in the medical landscape. The American board of medical specialties decided to require re-certification every 8-10 years. A lot of patients do not know this. But this information is public knowledge.
Ensure that the doctors’ office hours are in line with your schedule. This is very important. Especially if you have a job that is not very flexible. Do you need to be at work 8-5 PM? Is your physicians’ office also open from 8-5 PM? This is not a good match. Our office hours an important factor in your decision-making? Ask the receptionist what the hours are before deciding to schedule an appointment. Look for an office that has evening or weekend appointments. As a diabetic, you cannot afford to skip seeing your physician because you can’t get in to see them for any reason. This is an important part of avoiding long-term complications.
Know how long it typically takes for your doctor to return your calls. I can’t tell you how often I hear this complaint as one of the reasons that patients get upset and leave a medical practice. May I suggest that on your initial visit with your new doctor, you both establish ‘the ground rules’? That way both parties know what to expect- no surprises. For instance, your doctor may have a policy that if it is not urgent; it takes up to 24 hours before they get back to you. Or they might have their nurse get back to you to get more information before they answer your question. At other times your physician may need to see you back in the office. For example, if your sugars have been running high for some time- this requires an office visit. But it is important to know this ahead of time.
Know how results of tests will be communicated to you ahead of time. Does your physician send out information about test results by a letter or phone call? Or do they expect you to schedule a return visit? Knowing this ahead of time cuts down on any misunderstanding. The adage ‘no news is good news’ does not apply to your healthcare. Always expect some form of communication regarding any tests that were performed on you.
If you choose a doctor and then realize you’re not happy with your decision, you owe it to yourself and your child to find a situation that works best for you. Sometimes problems can be solved by simply communicating your concerns with your pediatrician, but if this is not successful, you should go back to the drawing board. The American Academy of Pediatrics is a great resource for finding referrals during your search, so take the time to do your research and find the ideal doctor for your family. Having a reliable doctor to call when your child is sick can make all the difference, so follow these steps and you’ll find yourself in good hands.
Just like a good pair of shoes, you may have to go spend some time in your search to find the right fit for you. The important thing is to be persistent in your search. And never be afraid to leave a healthcare provider if you feel that your needs are not being met. Be proactive for health. That’s what powerful living is all about.