One of the most significant choices you’ll have to make about your health is choose a primary care physician. And in part because of the Affordable Care Act, which has led to a significant rise in the number of individuals who have health insurance, a greater number of people than ever before are now looking for a physician who they can refer to as their own.
According to Doris Peter, Ph.D., director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, “Unfortunately, it is challenging to locate credible information that is also simple to grasp about individual physicians or practices.” “Even if you can read evaluations of doctors on third-party websites like Yelp and Angie’s List, should you really approach finding a physician in the same manner that you would a restaurant or a plumber? Almost certainly not.”
How to Look for a Competent Physician
But, there are methods and resources that may assist you in finding a new doctor or improving the care you get from the one you now see. Why it is so essential to locate a good primary care doctor, what you should concentrate on throughout your search, and where you may go to get the information you need are outlined in this article.
Choose a doctor you can rely on.
A growing number of health insurance policies require patients to choose a primary care physician to act as their primary resource. This individual can not only assist you with day-to-day health issues like the flu or a sprained ankle, but they can also refer you to experts when it is required and, more importantly, supervise all of the treatment that you get. We also search for Gastrointestinal Oncologist to get the best service from doctor.
“It may feel like a hardship or restricted to have to pick a main care physician,” said Orly Avitzur, M.D., medical director at Consumer Reports. “It may seem like a burden to have to choose a primary care provider.” “Yet, in order to successfully navigate our complicated health care system, each and every one of you need the assistance of a project manager,”
There is a growing body of evidence to show that individuals who have a close connection with their primary care physician not only have a higher rate of patient satisfaction with the treatment they get but also may benefit from an overall improvement in their health. It makes sense that this would be the case given that having open lines of communication and working collaboratively with the physician who is responsible for overseeing your care can help ensure that you receive the necessary diagnostics and treatments as well as help you avoid common issues such as receiving treatment that is either redundant or inconsistent from a large number of specialists.
The Hunt Is About to Begin
If you know a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional, ask them for the names of physicians or practices in your region that they like going to and trust. It may provide more insight than the suggestions of friends or relatives. You should also think about the sort of physician that you would want to see. Someone who is capable of looking after your whole family? Someone who is interested in elderly individuals or women (see the next section)? As you continue your search for “Dr. Right,” here are some more factors to take into consideration:
Verify that you have insurance: You may find physicians who participate in your network by searching the directory or website of your insurer. You should contact the office to confirm that the doctor still accepts your insurance plan since medical providers often add or cancel programs.
Think about your association with a hospital: Find out which hospitals the doctor you’re considering has admitting privileges at in case you find yourself in a situation where you have to go to the hospital. Finally, make use of our hospital ratings to see how the aforementioned establishment stacks up against other hospitals in your region.
Examine the possibility of board certification: To become certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties, a doctor must first obtain a medical degree from an approved medical school, then finish anywhere from three to seven years of residency training that is recognized by the medical community, obtain a license to practice medicine from a state medical board, and finally, pass one or more examinations that are given by a board member. Participation in ongoing educational opportunities is required of doctors who want to keep their certifications current. You may check the certification status of a physician by going to certificationmatters.org.
Look out for these warning signs: These consist of disciplinary measures and allegations of medical misconduct. “you definitely don’t want someone who has had a lot of malpractice claims,” Avitzur adds, because even competent physicians may get sued once or twice. But, “you certainly don’t want someone who has had a lot of malpractice claims.” Substance misuse and improper sexual conduct are two of the most common causes for a doctor to be penalized; yet, it may be difficult to determine the specific reasons why a doctor was sanctioned. In most places, physicians are allowed to continue their practices while they are undergoing treatment.
Take into account the compatibility: According to a poll conducted in 2014 by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, more than half of American adults place a high level of importance on the personality and rapport they have with their physician. (Just 29 percent of respondents said that the delivery of treatment or the health result of the patient was the most important factor.) Consider your first trip there to be a trial run. These are some considerations to make: Did the doctor pay attention to you without interjecting questions or comments? Is her response to all of your inquiries comprehensive? Did she take the time to discuss your diagnosis and therapy, as well as set a date for your next appointment?
Inquire about the medication reps: Many medical professionals welcome salespeople from pharmaceutical corporations into their practices so that they may market their wares. This not only takes up a significant amount of the doctor’s time but also has the potential to wrongly impact the medications he prescribes. “That may get patients started on a brand-name medicine that may be more costly or may not be the best one for them,” Peter said. “That can get patients started on a brand-name medication that may not be the best one for them.” In addition, a doctor’s attitude regarding drug representatives might be seen as an indication of how dedicated he is to basing his practice on the best available data rather than succumbing to pressure from the pharmaceutical business.
Investigate the company’s rules and regulations: Inquire how long it takes to schedule an appointment for a normal visit (it should be less than a week), whether they provide same-day appointments, and how long patients are kept waiting in the waiting area. The answer to all three questions should be less than a week. If, after becoming a patient, you find that the experience does not live up to your expectations, you should look into other options. Not only can doing so help you save time, but it is also beneficial to your physical well-being. According to L. Gordon Moore, M.D., chief medical officer at Treo Solutions, a company that specializes in data analytics, research shows that “patients are less likely to follow up on recommendations to prevent or manage chronic conditions” in practices that are inefficient and waste the time of patients.
Examine the employees carefully: They are the ones who will arrange your appointments, check you in and out, deliver your messages to the doctor, and resolve any questions you may have with your insurance. Try to find a personnel that is not only helpful but also efficient and courteous. Lois Margaret Nora, M.D., J.D., president and chief executive officer of the American Board of Medical Specialties, is quoted as saying that “health care is a team sport.” “Patients should have high expectations for both the physician who treats them and the healthcare system in which the physician works,”
Take into account the technology: Your doctor is able to keep track of your medical history, communicate information with specialists, and monitor all of your medications thanks to electronic health records. A lot of doctors also have something called a patient portal, which is a protected website that provides you with round-the-clock access to your medical records and enables you to do things like book and track doctor appointments, get lab results, ask for refills on prescriptions, and e-mail questions to your doctor. Passwords, encryption, and other forms of technological protection are essential components of the system that the government mandates be used to handle sensitive health information. In any case, make sure you inquire about the safety of your information. (For further information, have a look at our post titled “The Doctor Will E-mail You Today.”)