How many times have you felt like you were sitting in front of a doctor who could care less about you and your symptoms? Have you ever moved to a new city and dreaded the hunt for a family doctor? I have.
Finding a new doctor is like dating. It’s time consuming, frustrating, exhausting and you want to kiss as few frogs as possible before you find your prince (or princess)! With the smaller networks today, it’s even more important to get it right. Choosing a doctor outside of your insurance plan’s network could cost you hundreds to thousands extra if you’re not careful.
To help, I’m sharing 5 tips…
1) Ask your current doctor
Maybe you have a doctor who’s retiring or leaving her practice. Ask for a referral to another local physician your doctor knows and trusts. If you need a specialist, your current doctor is a great place to start. If the specialist you need isn’t taking new patients, your doctor might be able to get you an appointment.
2) Ask friends and family
Put out a plea on social media! In my experience, if friends and family (and their friends and family, and their friends and family, and their….) have a doctor they love, they’ll certainly tell you about it!
3) Google Search/Online Reviews
According to Pew Research, 5% of Americans who are married or in a committed relationship say they met their significant other online. Why not find a doctor this way? While there are some reasons to be cautious, there are MANYonline review sites to help! You might consider using these sites to narrow your search instead of starting there.
4) Ask a health professional
I have a nurse friend who has the scoop on just about every medical practitioner in town. These insiders know the “inner secrets” of the local medical community and are a great resource. Think! Who do you know in the medical field that can help you? If you don’t know anyone, major hospital systems typically have a doctor finder call line or web page (sometimes they include ratings and reviews, too).
5) Use an Advocate
If you have an advocacy service, a Personal Health Advocate can help you find a doctor in your health insurance plan’s network and they can also help schedule the appointment. Just tell them what you’re looking for and they’ll go to work for you. They’ll call some options to get a sense for the customer service and “feel” of the provider. As one advocate told me, “When we call, if the receptionist is rude or leaves us on hold forever, they don’t even make the list we share with you. We don’t want to refer our clients to providers who aren’t the best.”
Whether you’re a researcher, a socializer or you just want a “concierge” to figure it out for you, help is available, so don’t go it alone!
Now it's your turn! What tips can you give for finding a terrific new doctor? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.