Finding "Doctor Right"
Finding a doctor that you are completely comfortable with can be a daunting task. There are roughly 970,000 doctors in the United States. That's a lot to choose from! There are several factors to consider when choosing a doctor for yourself or your loved one. Below I will hopefully help you know what things to look for and ask.
The very first thing you will need to research when looking for a new doctor is to look up which ones accept your health insurance. Generally this can be found online on your insurance carrier's website or you can call the number on the back of your insurance card and they will be able to tell you. You can then make a list and start narrowing it down from there.
Take into consideration the proximity of a potential doctor. You might find a doctor that you absolutely love but they are a pretty far distance from you. At that point you will need to weigh the travel time it would take to get to that office. Think about how long it would take you to get there if you're having an asthma flare up and need a same day appointment.
Research the doctors credentials and licensure. How long has he/she been in practice? Where did he/she receive his/her education, residency etc? What is their specialty? Do they cross specialize in more than one area? Some of these points might be more important to you than others and that's okay. You might end up with a relatively novice doctor and find out he or she is absolutely brilliant and it a great fit for your needs.
The same criteria applies for the type of doctor you are looking for. Personally I believe finding a great general practice/primary care doctor is the first step. Then you will be able to be referred to a specialist if/when needed.
Questions to ask
Once you've narrowed down a potential list of doctors you might consider setting up a meeting with the doctor to ask your questions. Ask about same day appointments. Do they offer them when you are sick? What are the office hours? What is his/her experience with asthma specifically? Are they up to date on the newest treatments and therapies? Will they refer you to a specialist (such as a Pulmonologist or Allergist) when needed or do they prefer to treat everything themselves? Do they have an email or phone option for after hours or any time during the day to get in touch with the doctor? What hospital are they associated with should you need to be treated as an inpatient?
You might consider looking into patient satisfaction online reviews. Beware when doing this, as people do tend to post more negative reviews over positive ones. Nonetheless they are another tool that is available to use. When reading negative reviews take note of specifically why the person gave the negative review. You could also ask around to friends and family for recommendations of a doctor they trust and recommend.
When searching for the perfect doctor what it comes down to is how comfortable you are with them. All the online reviews and education history won't make a bit of difference if you aren't comfortable with him or her. It's important to remember that this is a process and might take time. Don't give up because with a bit of patience and persistence I'm confident that your "Doctor Right" is out there.
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