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Now that you're ready to choose a doctor, what's next? With all the choices available, it can get confusing. Here are some tips to help narrow down your choices.
Some people feel restricted when they choose a primary care doctor. But these physicians keep a record of your health history and have a strong handle on bad drugs, updated medications and other special considerations you may have. Primary care physicians are often well-versed about local doctors who can help people with your condition. They can usually recommend a good doctor for you to see. However, make sure they are not simply recommending a specialist who is in the same doctor group as they are. If you want more than one recommendation, simply ask for more.
This is important: Make sure the doctor you are interested in seeing is covered by your insurance. If not, some doctor's offices may take you anyway and offer to treat you on a sliding fee scale.
The doctor you choose may also determine the hospital you will be admitted to if needed. Make sure you check to see what hospital the doctor partners with.
Check the Internet for doctor reviews. How well is the doctor liked by the patients? This is a good barometer of quality of care. If you like what you read and the doctor is nearby, visit the office and ask more questions.
A doctor should be open to listening to your concerns and support you to make good decisions. Doctors are people too, and sometimes you might not get along. It's important to find a doctor whom you trust and with whom you are comfortable.
Often patients may spend more time with nurses or assistants that the actual doctor. Are they friendly, efficient and respectful of patients?
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Make sure you find out what sort of policies a doctor's office has. For example, does the office make same day appointments? What is the policy on cancelled appointments? How long are patients in the waiting room before seeing your doctor? Sometimes, you might not know how all of this works until you are already a patient. If the policies don't fit your needs, find another doctor.
Ask the doctor's office if they pharmaceutical reps in their offices to pitch new drugs. Sometimes this can influence the drugs the doctor prescribes in the office. You want a doctor with the patient's best interest in mind, not a pharmaceutical company's.
Has the doctor been through any disciplinary actions? Make sure the doctor you are considering has a clean record.