Health problems arise, and we never even see the signs. Common complaints of constant pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss, and coughs are usually ignored. If not disregarded, they are considered under the general feelings and conditions associated with work exhaustion and aging.
However, these are critical signs of severe conditions that should never really be brushed off as inconsequential. Your first step should be choosing a primary care physician to manage your health effectively. Your primary care doctor is the person you go to for most of your medical needs.
When you establish a long-term relationship with your physician, they learn about your health history, how you react to different medications, your health problems, and your lifestyle habits. They personalize your health care according to your needs and preferences.
The critical question is how to find the primary care doctor you can trust and feel comfortable with. Here are some of the most important things to remember when you look for the best doctor and some questions you should ask yourself.
- What kind of doctor do you prefer?
When looking for a primary care physician, keep your priorities straight. Do you prefer a male or female primary care provider? Someone you can go to for a same-day consultation without feeling rushed. A good communicator? Is the doctor sympathetic? Someone who believes in alternative medicine. According to the research conducted by Lauren Howe and Kari Leibowitz, the two social psychologists show that “having a doctor who is warm and reassuring actually improves your health.”
Is the medical facility’s overall public relations policy warm and reassuring? A great doctor needs an equally supportive team. The health facility’s public relations officers must demonstrate the same sincerity. They should have one of the key skills of public relations, and that is strong communication informed by a compelling sense of empathy for patients.
- Look for physicians by reputation.
The internet has become a powerful resource for information and reviews about medical facilities and doctors in this digital age. You can shortlist a few doctors based on their reputation and popularity. You can search for online ratings and feedback to learn about the experiences of other patients, and these reviews give you an idea about a doctor’s personality and work style. It can help you decide what to expect from the healthcare provider you want to consult regularly.
- Check the network of the insurance company
Choosing a primary care doctor on your health insurance company’s panel can help lower expensive health care costs, as health plans offer discounted rates with some doctors. Search the doctor directory provided by your insurance company on its website. Alternatively, you can call the number on your member ID to get the information about the doctor you’re considering.
- Seek opinions and referrals:
In addition to searching for doctors on the insurance company’s website, ask trusted family or friends for their opinions. They can refer you to the right medical professionals to give you the treatment you need.
Ask friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations of good primary care doctors you can trust. If you are already receiving treatment from a doctor and are moving or retiring, ask friends for recommendations.
- Check for Certifications.
Certifications are reliable and verifiable evidence of a physician’s proficiency and that they have the appropriate qualifications to provide medical services. Feel free to ask for three essential certifications to ensure they are trustworthy.
First, find out if the doctor has a license. A license verifies the physician’s ability to practice medicine legally.
Second, look for board certifications. It is one of the best certifications a medical professional can obtain. A board-certified physician has gone above and beyond to obtain the necessary training and certifications.
Finally, confirm if he is accredited. An accredited physician is a doctor who has received extensive training to hone their skills in their specialty area and academic qualification.
- Shared cultural values and language
Every person needs to get the best healthcare experience and build rapport with their doctor. Locating a primary care doctor who understands your cultural and religious values, preferences, and language is advantageous.
Communication is the key to excellence in all aspects of life. It connects you with people. And it becomes an important skill when you have to put your thoughts into words. Your ability to describe your symptoms and experiences fluently and without misunderstanding is critical in medicine. So, it is best to find a doctor with whom you can communicate confidently with fluency.
- Consider Accessibility
The availability of a doctor is another factor to consider. It’s essential to ensure you can get to your doctor quickly, especially in an emergency.
You can understand how they go about things during the first call by asking questions.
You should ask them the following questions, for example:
- Are they available when you really need them?
- Are they accessible every day of the week?
- How is prescription refilling handled at the office?
- How are test findings provided to you?
- Do they provide virtual appointments on weekends or during holidays?
- Who will temporarily take their place if they are not available?
Remember that you depend on them constantly. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weekend or a holiday. Illness is an unpredictable condition. Also, think about opening hours, such as when they are available, how long you need to sit in a waiting room, and the days the doctor sees patients.
Do you want to travel long distances to get immediate medical care? Distance is one of the most important considerations when choosing a primary care doctor. Your primary care provider’s location should be close enough for you to get services immediately and whenever you need them.
Finding a local health professional is an excellent option to avoid traveling far, especially in an emergency. If you can’t locate a local provider, find the one nearest you, so getting there is convenient, especially if you want regular checkups.
- Visit the doctor:
While online customer reviews help evaluate various things, including long wait times, helpful staff, and more, you shouldn’t rely solely on them. You should go to the doctor’s office to learn more about their experience with a particular disease.
Your primary care physician will act as your primary care representative and first responder if you have any health concerns. Finding a doctor with whom you can ask questions confidently and comfortably is necessary. During your visit, you should note if you had a positive experience with the doctor. Whether you believed his prognosis for you, and determine if he adequately addressed your concerns. Here, you have to trust your instincts.
Choosing a primary care doctor may appear to be a challenging task. Still, once you’ve identified a practitioner who meets your specific needs, it can be truly beneficial in the long run. In addition to being the person you approach for regular medical consultation, your primary care doctor performs routine checkups and identifies any severe health problems or concerns. Regular checkups ensure that you and your doctor can control and treat diseases, issues, and problems before they become incurable. Your primary care physician will also refer you to specialists if your health plan includes referrals.
Suppose you are unsatisfied with the doctor or are unsure about your choice of the best doctor after your initial consultation. In that case, we recommend that you do not lose hope. Go through these steps again or seek advice from family, friends, relatives, and some online healthcare advisors.