Did you know? About 97% of patients who visit urgent care centers are right where they need to be. Only 3% of urgent care visitors have to be diverted to emergency departments for additional treatments.
But what about when you’re not in an emergency situation? Should you just stay home? The obvious answer is a resounding “no.” You shouldn’t wait until you’re sick to go see a doctor — preventive medicine is just as important as getting help when you’re experiencing a health crisis.
If you’ve recently changed locations, or just decided your old doctor is no longer right for you, you may be hesitant to find a new primary care doctor. After all, exploring and trying new things can be uncomfortable and disappointing. It might seem easier to wait until you need a doctor instead of looking for one right away.
But as mentioned already, you technically shouldn’t go too long without a checkup (specifically, no longer than one year). So to help you choose the right primary care physician for you, keep the following tips in mind.
Ask Friends and Family
This isn’t always the best way to find a new doctor, but it can be a good place to start: ask your friends and family who their favorite doctors are. A recommendation from a person you trust can go a long way. Just remember to take what you hear with a grain of salt. Every person is different, after all, so the right doctor for your best friend isn’t necessarily the right one for you.
Look Close to Home
Since you visit your primary care doctor with everyday health needs, it’s ideal if you can find one close by. It’s never a good idea to travel far when you aren’t feeling well. Besides that, a conveniently-located doctor’s office will make it easier to keep appointments. Just search “doctors office near me” in your favorite search engine to instantly find the healthcare services that are closest to where you live.
Ensure You’ve Got Coverage
Once you’ve got some promising doctors in mind to choose from, check and see which ones will work with your healthcare plan. Call the office and ask the doctor’s receptionist if they accept whatever insurance plan you’re covered under. If you have an insurance plan that lets you see the specific doctors in their network, you can also check your insurance company’s website for a list of local recognized doctors. Even if a doctor from outside your network agrees to accept your insurance, there still may be a fee involved. Of course, if it’s a great doctor, it might well be worth the fee. Just be informed before you walk in for your first appointment.
Place a Cold Call
Besides finding out if a doctor accepts your insurance, it’s a good idea to call them out of the blue just to get a feel for how the staff interacts with patients. A cold call can give you a great first impression of a doctor’s office. If the staff is polite and takes time to answer your questions effectively, that’s a green light to consider moving forward with that primary care doctor.
While you’re on the phone with the healthcare center, it’s okay to request a meeting with the doctor in person before you agree to schedule an appointment. Not all doctors have the time or means to do this, so it doesn’t mean it’s a bad doctor just because they can’t. Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Keep Your Unique Needs in Mind
Every individual has health needs that are specific to them, and these change as you grow older. Just like you wouldn’t hire a plumber when you have electrical problems, it matters which doctor you choose for your body.
When you call a primary care doctor’s office, ask if they have an area of special interest that they focus on. A good general doctor will be enough for most people, but if you need someone who specializes in a specific condition or area of the body, don’t settle for someone who can’t take care of your needs properly.
If you have several complex medical issues, you might benefit from seeing a geriatrician instead of a general doctor. Rely on the professionalism, experience, and care provided by Care Station Medical today.