Whether you have moved, changed insurance companies, or your doctor has retired, sometimes you have to choose a new physician. How do you select the best one for you?
The process of finding a new primary care doctor is often stressful. While recommendations are good, and for some their gut instinct is enough to make a decision, you might require a bit more to know if your potential new doctor is right for you. Being able to sit down and discuss their views on care and how they mesh your idea of what you need from a care provider is often the best way to make a decision.
The problem with that, for many prospective patients, is that they are unsure of what to ask a doctor when they do finally sit down to feel each other out. Assuming that you have a range of choices among doctors that are currently accepting new patients and accept your insurance, where do you go from there? What kind of physician are you personally most comfortable with?
Once you have narrowed your search down to a handful of possible doctors, you need to begin thinking of what kind of questions you need to ask of them in order to best discern which one is the most suitable fit for you.
To help give you a better idea of what kind of questions you may want to ask on an initial consultation, we have compiled a list that you can chose questions relevant to you to ask of your doctor.
Checklist of Questions to Ask a Physician During a First Visit:
• Are you board certified? What is your specialty?
• Where did you go to medical school?
• How long have you been a primary care physician?
• What is your opinion on the patient-physician relationship?
• How would you describe your communication style?
• Do you encourage me to ask questions and express my opinion?
• Do you take the time to consider my opinion and answer my questions in a way that I can understand?
• Am I able to call you directly in case of emergency?
• How does your office handle emergencies if I cannot get a hold of you?
• Am I able to call or email you with non-emergency questions? If so, how long should I expect to wait for a response?
• How long should I expect to wait for an appointment after calling to schedule one?
• If necessary, am I able to schedule a same-day appointment for urgent situations?
• What days and hours do you see patients for non-emergency appointments?
• Is this a group practice? Or should I expect to see you each time I visit?
• If you are unavailable, whom should I expect to see?
• If I need to see a specialist, will you work with me to find the right person?
• Do you work with a certain hospital?
• Do you keep paper or electronic medical records?
• Are you comfortable with me bringing a friend or family member with me to an appointment?
• Do you provide post-visit reports that summarize what occurred, what was discussed, and what actions need to be taken after the visit?
• Do you have an online resource with additional information?
• Do you have any experience with _________? (Any specific issue or condition you may have)
The answers to these questions will help you make the best choice possible when it comes to who will be handling your care.