How to choose a doctor
So you are in the market for a new doctor? How to choose a doctor is a question that many of us ask ourselves. There are 100’s just in my city! Well here are some helpful tips:
What are you trying to treat?
Did you know that 70% of the reasons you see a doctor can now be treated over the phone or through video conferencing online? Telemedicine is the fastest growing sector of the medical field today. Odds are (about 70% that is) that you don’t need a primary care provider. Ultimately you do for the other 30%, but not for common and acute illnesses. Companies like WebDocOnline offer 24/7/365 access to a licensed, board certified physician with an average of 15 years in their field. Telemedicine doctors can diagnose and treat common illnesses and even prescribe medication if necessary. Consider telemedicine as your go to doctor before you see a PCP and pay the co-pays and deductibles. Not to mention the hassle of taking off work, waiting for your apt (1 week average), and waiting in a lobby full of sick people. Did we mention that it is often just to get a simple antibiotic for something that you can diagnose yourself! Look into WebDocOnlines affordable telemedicine plans.
Look at your your insurance
Use your insurer’s directory or search on its website for doctors in your network. Because doctors often add or drop plans, call the office to verify that the doctor still accepts your insurance. (If you are choosing a health plan, use our insurance rankings to compare plans.)
What is your doctors hospital affiliation
Often your doctor, when he determines you need to be admitted to a hospital, is the one that determines what hospital you go to. Look at hospital Ratings to see how that hospital is in comparison to others in your local area. This is important when you choose a doctor.
Doctors are certified through the American Board of Medical Specialties. Your potential doctor has earned a medical degree from a medical school that must be qualified. They have completed three to seven years of accredited residency training, they are licensed by a state medical board, and have passed one or more exams administered by a member of the ABMS. Once licensed, a doctor must take continuing education. See whether a doctor is certified at certificationmatters.org.
Has your doctor had any problems?
If your potential doctor has had malpractice claims and disciplinary actions you want to know. Even good doctors can get sued once or twice, but you certainly don’t want a doctor that has a lot of derogatory claims. A few reasons for being disciplined include inappropriate sexual behavior and substance abuse. Many states let Physicians perform their duties while they receive drug treatment. Here is a state-by-state list of links to state medical boards and other resources to help you choose a doctor.
Are you compatible?
Over 50% of us focus on relationship and personalities when they choose a doctor, and only 29% focused on the doctors ability to affect the health problem they want to see the doctor for. Some considerations may be: Does the Does your doctor completely answer your questions? Do they explain your diagnosis and treatment, and specify a follow-up visit date? Does your doctor listen without interrupting?
Find out about office policies
When you ask yourself how to choose a doctor, ask the doctors office how long it takes to make an appointment for a routine visit (it should be less than a week), whether they offer same-day appointments, and how long patients are kept in the waiting room. Once you’re a patient, if the reality doesn’t meet your expectations, consider shopping around. That’s important not only to save you time but also for your health. In practices that waste patients’ time, research shows that “patients are less likely to follow up on recommendations to prevent or manage chronic conditions,” said L. Gordon Moore, M.D., chief medical officer at Treo Solutions, a data analytics firm.
Analyze the staff
Your doctors staff will be the one to give the doctor your messages, check you in and out, schedule your appointments, and address insurance concerns. Look for a staff that’s efficient, friendly, and respectful. “Health care is a You should expect quality from your doctor, the staff, and the overall system that you will be inserted into.
Factor in technology
Your electronic health records are how your doctor shares info with specialists, tracks your medical history, and monitors and adjusts all of your medications. Does your doctor offer you a patient portal? (a secured website that gives you 24-hour access to your health information which allows you to book and track doctor appointments, get lab results, request prescription refills, and e-mail questions to your doctor. The government requires that health information be protected with passwords, encryption, and other technical safeguards. Still, ask how your information will be safeguarded. When you choose a doctor your information security is important!
Important Links to help as you ask yourself “how to choose a doctor”
WebDocOnline.com Access to 24/7/365 doctor consultations for you and your family. This a no brainer if you don’t have insurance, and I would say it is still a no brainer if you do simply because its a great gap coverage for those common and acute illnesses that you usually don’t do anything about even though you have insurance. Telemedicine doctors can diagnose and treat common illnesses and even prescribe medication if necessary. Consider telemedicine as your go to doctor before you see a PCP and pay the co-pays and deductibles. Not to mention the hassle of taking off work, waiting for your apt (1 week average), and waiting in a lobby full of sick people. Did we mention that it is often just to get a simple antibiotic for something that you can diagnose yourself! Look into WebDocOnlines affordable telemedicine plans.
AMA DoctorFinder. Basic information on more than 814,000 physicians in the U.S. You get information on specialty training, board certification, and more. But there is no information on patient outcomes, disciplinary actions, or communication skills.
AngiesList.com. User reviews on an A through F scale, sometimes based on a limited number of responses, for categories such as availability, punctuality, staff friendliness, and effectiveness of treatment. Requires an annual membership fee ranging from $3.50 to $10, depending on services you select.
Castle Connolly. Ratings of “top doctors” based on peer nominations, research, screening, and other factors. Search by name, location, hospital, specialty, or insurance.
Healthgrades.com. Comprehensive, easy-to-use site that allows searches by name, procedure, specialty, or condition. Includes info on education, affiliated hospitals (and ratings on the hospital itself), sanctions, malpractice claims and board actions, office locations, and insurance plans. Ratings on topics such as patient satisfaction and wait time are based on patient feedback, which can be limited.
National Committee for Quality Assurance. Reliable information on doctors who meet important standards in measures such as being a patient-centered medical home, care for heart disease, diabetes, and back pain. NCQA verifies a doctor’s licensing, but other data is self-reported.
Physician Compare. Information from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for people looking for health care providers who accept Medicare. Provides information on board certification, education, and group and hospital affiliations.
RateMDs.com. Search for doctors by name, sex, ZIP code, state, and specialty. Includes information on training as well as patient ratings on staff, punctuality, helpfulness, and knowledge. It has links to medical board records where you can get information on disciplinary actions. Patients can post questions and answers about doctors. Ratings are based on patient reviews.
Vitals.com. Find doctors by specialty, condition, insurance, name, and more. You’ll get the lowdown on a doctor’s awards, expertise, hospital affiliations, and insurance as well as patient ratings on measures such as bedside manner, follow-up, promptness, accuracy of diagnosis, and average wait time. There’s also a patient-comment section.
U.S. News & World Report. No ratings of doctors, just basic info on a physician’s years in practice, hospital affiliation, training, certification, licensure, insurance, and awards.
Yelp.com. User reviews that give doctors one to five stars. Doctors can’t pay to alter or remove their reviews, though it is hard to tell what the reviewer’s relationship is to the doctor and doctors can get high ratings with just a few responses.
How to choose a doctor
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