Finding a health care provider with whom you feel a personal connection is a great first step in building a good doctor-patient relationship. Having a doctor you feel comfortable with will make it easier for you to seek clarification on proposed treatment methods and bring up health issues even if the doctor doesn’t ask.
If you don’t have a primary health care provider—dentist, cardiologist, pediatrician, nutritionist—or are uncomfortable with your current provider, it may be time to make a switch. Whether your employer has just changed insurers, you’ve moved to a new town, or you’ve had an unpleasant experience with your doctor, it’s important to take the time to find quality health care for you and your family members. Here are some steps to take when looking for a new doctor.
Seek referrals from people you trust.
Before you start your search for a new doctor, take the time to consider the qualities that are most important to you. For instance, does gender matter? Do you have a language preference? Do you prefer a doctor in private practice or one who’s affiliated with a specific medical center? A list of this kind is a great way to determine which qualities are not essential.
Most people feel comfortable working with doctors who’ve been recommended to them by people they know like a family member or friend. If you’re moving to a new city—the Los Angeles area, for instance—and require regular cardiovascular screening visits, ask your current cardiologist to recommend some of the best cardiologists in Los Angeles.
Check with your insurance company.
Health insurance providers negotiate discounted rates with certain doctors and hospitals. If your doctor is in partnership with your insurance provider, you’ll encounter fewer out-of-pocket costs during your appointments. To find an “in-network” dentist, for instance, contact your insurance company to get a list of some of the top doctors in your area who take your insurance.
To be sure, call the doctor’s office to confirm that they do take your insurance, and as you speak to your insurer, also find out what dental treatment procedures—dental implants, adult braces, teeth whitening, veneers, ceramic crowns, dental fillings—are covered by the insurer. If you don’t have health insurance, you’ll have to pay for your dental services out of pocket. Most dental practices offer flexible financial payment plans, so ask them what payment plan options they have available.
Consider their area of expertise.
After you’ve compiled your list of in-network doctors, you can begin narrowing it down by taking a look at your medical needs. If you’re looking for a doctor who’ll be able to cater to your entire family, consider a doctor in family practice. These doctors treat patients of all ages and can treat a variety of health issues.
A doctor who specializes in internal medicine typically treats adults and specializes in preventive care. They’re also able to diagnose, treat, and manage chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease. A doctor’s area of expertise is important if you’re seeking specialized medical care.
For instance, one cardiologist may have more experience treating cardiac arrhythmias while another may be an expert in coronary artery disease treatments. Alternatively, one may have more experience in the treatment of adult congenital heart disease while the other may have more experience in pediatrics and pediatric congenital heart disease. Knowing their area of expertise can help you find a doctor who suits your medical needs.
Check their credentials.
As you look for health specialists, also factor in their credentials and certifications. When seeking treatment for your cardiac issues, for instance, look for a board-certified cardiologist. This is a clear marker that they have attended medical school and also passed the requisite testing.
If you need help finding a cosmetic dentist and family dental care in North Olmsted, OH, for instance, or the surrounding areas, websites like Healthgrades or the Blue Cross Blue Shield can help you find information on the dentist’s treatment options, medical training, medical degrees, years of experience, board-certification status, medical malpractice cases, variety of services offered, and more.