How do you find doctors when you’ve just changed insurance plans, want to go to the best medical clinic, or are facing a special procedure and want the right person on the job? To find doctors requires a bit more effort than simply jumping online for 10 minutes.
Know in Advance What Kind of Doctor You Need
Most of the time, that’s likely to be a primary care doctor. The exception will be if you need a doctor for a special need you already have. You might want someone who specializes in diabetes, in treating lifestyle issues that are a factor for you, or who has a bit more expertise in allergies or rheumatology.
Check With Your Insurance
Once you know generally the type of doctor you need, the next step is to find out from your insurance company which doctors in your area accept your health insurance. They should provide you with a list of doctors in your area.
Check for Certifications
Once you find doctors that will take your insurance plan, check up on each doctor. Look for which emergency rooms, hospitals, or clinics they’re affiliated with if there are specific places you want to go. It’s also worth checking out certifications. The website Certification Matters lets you check up on any doctor to see what certifications he or she has, and how often they renew them.
Look Out for Red Flags
Even the best doctors are likely to be sued once or twice in their career, Frivolous lawsuits happen, and sometimes people sue doctors because they’re angry at an outcome that the doctor couldn’t have changed. But if you see more than one or two, or if a doctor hasn’t been in practice very long and already has one or two malpractice suits, that’s a red flag you might want to pay attention to.
Is Personality is Important to You?
Some doctors are very personable and have a great bedside manner. Others struggle with that aspect of medical care. But being personable isn’t exactly the same thing as being a good doctor. How important is it to you is bedside manner? If you’ve found a doctor that looks like a good fit in every other respect, but gets knocked in online ratings solely because people don’t find him or her likable and polite, decide if that’s really an issue you care deeply about.
Ultimately, finding a good doctor is always going to be a bit of guesswork. You can better your chances of getting a great one, though, by doing a bit of legwork in advance.