How to Choose the Right Physician for You

When those unexpected emergencies happen, our team at ER Near Me is always here for you. However, regular wellness checks are also significantly important. When it comes to your everyday health questions, you need a trusted primary care doctor that you can turn to.

Do you have a primary care doctor? If so, you need to see them at least once a year, and if not, you could be missing out on a critically important relationship when it comes to your overall well-being.

Not only can your primary care doctor help you detect and prevent early signs of certain diseases or issues, but your doctor can also offer you helpful advice for keeping your health in check year-round.

Research shows that people with primary care physicians are more likely to get cancer screenings and other preventive services. Additionally, patients in states that spend more on primary care have fewer emergency room visits.

Interested in learning more about emergency room visits and how to prepare? Check out our blog Preparing for Your ER Near Me Visit: What to Bring to the ER and What to Expect.

1. Determine which primary care doctor is in your insurance network.

While there are likely dozens of qualified, experienced, and attentive primary care physicians in your local area, a handful of them likely will not be within your insurance network. While regular well-checks are usually affordable, doctors visits, screenings, and diagnostic tests can add up and be costly if your doctor is out of network.

If you plan to pay out-of-pocket for your visits or do not have health insurance, you may also want to speak with prospective primary care doctors to learn about the cost of office visits and certain tests you know you will need. This will help you plan for future visits and narrow down offices that will fit within your budget.

2. Seek referrals from trusted family and friends.

While every person is different and has a unique relationship with their primary care doctor, a recommendation from someone you trust is an excellent way to narrow down the field and identify which area physicians will be the most helpful to you.

3. Determine how far you are willing to commute.

When choosing a primary care doctor, you should also consider the location. One doctor might be a perfect fit, but located more than an hour away. Think about whether you are willing to commute that far, especially when you are not feeling well. You will also be more likely to maintain your regular well-checks and keep appointments if your doctor is more conveniently located near you.

4. Make sure the doctor will be available when you need them.

Many doctors are great…so great that you have to schedule your appointments more than a month in advance just to see them. For regular well-checks and physical exams, this is not an issue. However, when you are feeling under the weather or need a special test, waiting for an appointment can be frustrating.

Find out the office’s hours of operation, how available they are if last-minute appointments are needed, if they have an after-hours helpline, and if they offer a telemedicine service. Having the ability to call your doctor and have a virtual appointment can be beneficial for both parties, and amid the pandemic, this is a service that is increasingly being offered.

5. Do your due diligence.

You would not hire a babysitter for your child without references and a background check would you? Most likely, you would not. Choosing a primary care doctor also requires a thorough quality check to ensure they have the proper certifications and experienced staff. 

Here is where we recommend you start with your quality check:

  • If you have insurance, check to see if your provider offers any information about the doctors in your network and their quality of ratings. 

6. Ensure the prospective doctor is sensitive to your special needs.

As we have stated above, every person is different with unique views on life, cultural differences, beliefs, religions, and other personal convictions. No matter what your beliefs or cultural differences are, it is important to research and choose a primary care doctor that will understand you and be sensitive to your concerns.

Likewise, you might have a special condition and therefore might want a doctor who is specially trained to deal with that medical condition or need. Refer back to the American Board of Medical Specialties to find suitable doctors that are board-certified in that area.

7. Schedule an initial consultation and ask questions.

Most medical offices offer initial consultations with patients when they are choosing a primary care doctor. When you narrow down your list of preferred doctors, call each and schedule a brief consultation. This will be your opportunity to see the cleanliness and setup of the office, determine how convenient the location is, communicate with the staff to see how friendly and inviting they are, and most importantly, speak with your doctor and ask them questions.

Not sure what questions to ask your primary care doctor? We’ve got you covered. Download our free list of questions to ask to prepare for your first visit!

ER Near Me February Offer - Questions to Ask Your Doctor