Important things to consider when choosing a new doctor for you or your child
Choosing a doctor for yourself or your child is an important decision. In addition to attending to your medical needs, the doctor you choose can impact your time, money, and peace of mind.
Once you confirm that your doctor is covered by your insurance, there are still many things to consider. Here are some questions to guide you through the process.
- Location and office hours: Is the doctor’s office near home, work, or your child’s school? Can you get there by public transportation? Is parking easy and affordable? Are appointments typically available at convenient times?
- Type of practice: Is it a group or single practice? How important is it to you to see the same doctor each time you visit, or is getting in quickly more important? Is it a primary care or family practice? Can your children be treated there too? Does the practice have gynecological services?
- Services offered: Are blood tests, radiology, and other diagnostic tests offered on site, or do you need to make additional appointments somewhere else for these services? Does the doctor provide comprehensive care or frequently refer patients to specialists?
- Hospital and referral network: What hospital or network is the doctor associated with? Do you have a specialist in the same network?
- Communication: How does the practice communicate with patients about test results and health concerns: through online medical records, email, or phone? When you call with questions can you speak with the doctor, or do you get a nurse or office staff?
- Scheduling and urgent care: What is the urgent/sick care policy? Can you get same day appointments? Is there an additional fee? How long does it take to schedule a nonurgent visit? What is the cancellation policy?
- Physician preferences and experience: Do you prefer someone who is highly experienced or a recent graduate who may have fresh thinking? Do you agree with the doctor’s approach to such things as antibiotics or alternative treatments? Are you more comfortable with formal or personable styles? Does the gender of your doctor matter to you?
- Your health and style: Are you generally healthy, or do you have ongoing medical issues? Do you like doctors who are efficient and directive, or would you prefer someone who is more inclusive in their approach?
Asking a trusted friend or family member for a recommendation is a great place to start. The best doctor referrals often come from those who know us best.
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