Finding your dream doctor can be difficult, but you shouldn’t get discouraged. Here are items you should always consider:
- Explore your options within your plan’s network. If you go out-of-network, insurance will cover fewer costs, leaving you on the hook for a good chunk of money.
- Location, location, location. This is awfully important in establishing a long term relationship with your doctor. You won’t seek care if your doctor’s office is out of your way. See who’s easily accessible to you (like near your home or workplace).
- Check credentials. Are your top contenders board certified? Are their licenses current? What about their medical malpractice record? If you can’t easily find this information about a particular doctor, move on. (A word of caution: a doctor can have a malpractice record in one state, but move and set up shop in another state with a clean slate. Research malpractice and disciplinary actions online).
- Know thyself. By this, we mean your comfort level with your doctor. If you can’t communicate openly, your doctor can have a hard time figuring out the root of your problem. (Just bear in mind, age or gender is no indication of your doctor’s proficiency or ability to treat you).
- Is your doctor a listener? This is a primary asset in prescribing the best treatment. Is your doctor patient with you, taking the time to explain medical issues in an understandable way? If your doctor is rude or insulting, then move on.
- Hospital affiliation may inform your decision. Most insurance companies' websites list provider hospital affiliations when you search for doctors online. Just be sure that the hospital also participates in your network.
- The power of Google. What do websites say about your doctor’s interests, professional background, or accomplishments? What about other patient reviews on physician rating/ranking sites or Yelp?
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