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The Search for a Family Doctor in Your New Neighborhood

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 06 February 2018 10:46

Like any regular commitment, choosing a new doctor for your family can be tough. Everything has to align near perfectly to truly fit your family’s needs, and too often can circumstances be prohibitive. Don’t take your family’s health for granted, and get serious about finding a good family doctor. Here’s some tips on what to do when you’re looking for a new family doctor.

The very first thing you should research when selecting a new doctor is your insurance plan’s network. Physicians align themselves with certain insurance providers for specialized rates, referrals, and lets you avoid charges that aren’t covered by your insurance policy. Contact your insurer to see if they can provide you with a list of local, in-network practitioners so you can begin to narrow down your search immediately. The best way to avoid surprise bills from a doctor’s visit is to be wholly aware of all the charges your insurance provider covers.

Make sure your doctor fits your needs. If you’re looking for a doctor for both you and your children, typically the best bill themselves as a Family Practice. If it’s specifically for your children, you’re looking for a pediatrician. Don’t be afraid to “shop around” for a doctor, although this can be unwise. Don’t seek a doctor just to reinforce your own opinions and conclusions, find one that’s going to continue to help you live as your healthiest self. Frequently individuals and families search for a particular gender of doctor, and this is normal. Find a doctor that makes you, your spouse, and your children all comfortable to be seen by.

Furthermore, see how accessible your doctor makes your records and communication. If your ability to make an appointment with them is obstructed or frustrates you, then they’re not the doctor for you. Cross-reference their office hours with your own standard availability to see if you’ll even be able to manage a visit. Make a cold call to the doctor’s office to gauge the friendliness of the staff and the ease of which you can actually make an appointment. A brief time on the phone should be able to get you some basic information, like how far in advance you should make your appointment, how long a visit typically lasts, and how efficient the office tends to be. If any of these aren’t to your liking, you should probably move on.

If your insurance policy isn’t limiting, consider getting input from friends, neighbors, and family. A glowing review from someone you already trust is a good basis for choosing a new doctor. Likewise, if your change of doctor because you’re moving, consider asking your current doctor for recommendations.  Another thing that should be considered is hospital access. Make sure to check which doctors accept patients to which hospitals, particularly in relation to your home and place of work.

Try to develop a rapport with your doctor, once you’ve chosen one. This process isn’t like picking groceries from a shelf at the supermarket. You don’t have to make friends with your physician, but it’s best if you are on amicable terms. It helps with clarity when it comes to treating that your doctor can speak frankly and honestly to you about their decisions. It’s their job to make sure you’re a healthier, happier person. When you’re given instructions and advice by your doctor, it’s for the best that you make notes—physical or mental—to follow them.

Perhaps the most important step of all is giving your new doctor access to your previous medical records. You’ll need to provide your new family doctor with lists of you and your family’s prior immunizations and the dates of which they happened, along with all screenings and tests done in recent years. They need to be as informed with you and your family’s cases as much (if not more) as your previous doctor is, and unfortunately first-hand experience isn’t a possibility.

It’s understandable to be cautious when picking a new physician, but it’s not something that should be procrastinated on. The health of you and your family should be one of the most important issues in your life, and finding a family doctor to help maintain it is part of that.

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