How to Choose a Primary Care Physician
Selecting a new doctor, or primary care physician isn’t as easy as it sounds. While you can ask around for recommendations much like you would for a barber or plumber, there are more factors involved that might limit your overall options.
Insurance plans create limitations, the number of practices in the area might be limited, and the doctor needs to have the expertise to meet your individual health needs. Follow these steps and you’ll be in good hands in no time. Here’s how to choose a new primary care physician.
Consider Your Network
The majority of healthcare plans include specific doctors and hospitals that you can go to. These places come with a discounted rate as part of your plan and are called “In-Network” for insurance purposes. Starting here helps to reduce your out of pocket costs.
The first step is to choose an in-network doctor that accepts your insurance. You can do this by calling the number on your healthcare provider’s member ID card. You could also search online by typing in primary care doctors Hoboken NJ, using the area you live in instead.
Now that you have a list of doctors that accept your insurance, you can begin narrowing your selection down by looking at their expertise. Would you benefit more from a family practice or a doctor of internal medicine? How about a general practice or maybe even a pediatrician for your child?
Family practices contain physicians that can treat patients of all aged and are skilled at treating a variety of conditions. In many cases, they can also treat ailments you would normally see a specialist for such as sports-related injuries or men’s and women’s specific health needs.
Those that practice internal medicine specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of diseases as well as chronic illnesses. General practices function much like family practices but might also include alternative medicine treatments and osteopaths.
On the other hand, you may be looking for a very specific doctor or procedure such as liposuction by Dr. Julio Garcia, MD. In this case, expertise is essential. Do yourself a favor by looking up what others have to say about them online.
At this point, your list of possible doctors should be narrowed down to just a few in the area. Ask your friends, coworkers, or family members if they have been to any of the physicians on your list, and if they would recommend them. If you’re moving to a new area, don’t hesitate to ask your current doctor if they have any recommendations as well.
Consider the Specifics
The next step is to take the few doctors remaining on your list and consider the specifics about their practice. Ask yourself the following:
- Are they close enough to your home?
- What are their office hours?
- Are they open on weekends?
- What days is the doctor in the office?
- What hospital does the doctor admit patients to?
- How will the doctor communicate with you? Phone, email, online portal?
Give Them a Visit
You won’t know if you’ve chosen the right doctor until you head into their practice. Schedule a meeting to help you get a better feel of what the physician is like and if you feel as though they are trustworthy.
It is also important to consider the demeanor of the people who answer the phone, how long the wait is, and what the nurses are like while you’re there. All of these factors are essential when picking out a practice that you’ll want to go to.