Choosing a physician or healthcare practitioner is one of those demands of adult life that nobody really prepares you for. Getting started can feel like such a task that you might not even want to start. Luckily, we’ve got a handy five-step guide to get you through it!
1. Check in With Yourself
Nobody knows yourself as well as you do. Take some time to understand exactly what you want. If you’re looking for a new primary care physician, do you want a doctor who specializes in women’s health or men’s health? If you’re looking for an OB/GYN, are you personally more comfortable with a male or female practitioner? Asking yourself exactly what you need before starting your search will help you narrow down your options.
The other important thing to check in with yourself about is your budget. Are you able to pay out of pocket or are you limited to options that are covered by your insurance? Which leads to our second step…
2. Understand Your Insurance Options
Insurance is confusing. Some plans offer an accessible description of your benefits, either in paper form or online. But often it’s still easiest to pick up the phone and give your insurance company a call to see what your options are. Make sure you ask about co-pays and deductibles!
3. Ask for Recommendations
Starting with a general Google search for “doctor in my area” is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Instead, reach out to friends or family and see if they have recommendations for great doctors. Even better, ask one of your current physicians that you trust for a referral! This way you at least have a starting point for your search.
4. Thoroughly Research
This is the hard part. You’ll have to read Yelp reviews, physician websites, and more to collect the information you need to make a decision. Check for physician specialties and make sure they match your needs. Read both the good and bad reviews to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. Make sure to take note of any particular certifications or associations the physician holds; particularly acclaimed physicians will often be members of advisory boards or physician groups like the Genexa Practitioner Partner Network.
5. Reach Out for More Info
A good final step is to email or call the office for information on whether the practitioner is taking new patients, accepts your insurance, or to answer any other question you may have. Pay attention to how you’re received; does the office seem like a welcoming environment? Is the practitioner willing to listen to your concerns or do they brush you off? Your gut instincts will help you decide if it’s a good fit!
Congrats! You have a new practitioner. You’ve completed a task that many people find daunting. For more advice and content like this, sign up for our email list.