6 Tips for Choosing a New Doctor
The search for a doctor can be prompted by all sorts of reasons: moving to a new town, dissatisfaction with your current doctor’s office, or just realizing you need something besides an urgent care clinic to keep you healthy.
Having a regular doctor to take care of most of your medical needs — referred to as a primary care doctor by the health care industry — means you’ll be healthier overall and more likely to avoid costly or painful complications from illnesses.
Many patients also choose to have a nurse practitioner or physician assistant serve as their primary care provider. Explore other reasons patients of all ages — even young adults — need a primary care doctor.
So how do you choose the best doctor or provider for you?
Try these six tips to find a doctor you can trust for quality care that meets your individual health goals.
1. Calendar Check: When Can You Get In?
If the doctor you’re considering is booked three months out, you may want to ask some questions. It could be a sign they are a well-liked and popular doctor. It could also be an indication that it will always be hard to get an appointment in a timely manner. Ask the office how soon established patients are able to see the doctor for a sudden illness like the flu or strep throat. Are there are other providers, such as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, in the same office that can see a patient the same day or the next day if the doctor is not available?
2. Map Check: Is it Convenient?
Having a doctor who is located close to home or work can make it much easier to get to appointments. After all, who wants a long drive when they feel really bad? A convenient location also makes it more likely you can fit in a visit in the middle of a busy day.
3. Ask for Recommendations
Asking a friend, neighbor, or family member about their primary care experiences can provide insight. Of course the doctor your aunt raves about may not be a good fit for you personally, but you can certainly eliminate names that are associated with bad experiences. If you talk to a friend or family member with a similar personality as yours, it’s worth taking a look at their primary care provider.
4. Scope Out the Office Team
You’ll be interacting with receptionists, scheduling staff, and other members of the office team in addition to seeing the doctor, so make sure you feel comfortable with these staff members. You can learn a lot from a phone call to inquire about providers or appointments. Are they friendly and professional? Are the phones answered in a timely manner? Are you on hold a long time?
5. Check Your Comfort Level
After your first visit with a new doctor, ask yourself if you felt comfortable and at ease. Did they listen well to your questions and concerns? Do you feel like you trust their approach to medical care and their recommendations? If things don’t feel right after the first visit or two, you likely need to keep looking for a different doctor. Trust and comfort are two of the most important elements of effective care.
6. Is it a Medical Match?
Does the doctor you are considering excel or have a special interest in a certain medical area, and if so, does that line up with your needs? You can learn a lot by exploring bios of doctors, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants online. Both LeBauer HealthCare and Cone Health Medical Group offer provider finder tools that include information about the providers at LeBauer HealthCare locations.
While family practice physicians or internists are able to treat a wide range of illnesses or chronic issues, some of them like to focus on certain areas, such as women’s health, diabetes, care for seniors, or other segments of health care. Of course, many doctors offer excellent care to all ages and health needs.
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Find a Primary Care Provider in Your Area
LeBauer HealthCare has teams of doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in nine locations that span Greensboro, Burlington, High Point and surrounding communities. Learn more about our providers or find a location near you. It’s easy to get started with our Request an Appointment online form.