If you’re a healthy adult, it’s recommended that you see your doctor every 1-3 years. But if you have some health issues, or you also have children, then you’ll need to make more trips to the doctor’s office.
Perhaps you’re not a fan of your current family physician and want to switch. Or maybe you’ve moved somewhere new and don’t know much about the doctors in your area.
How can you pick the right primary care doctor for your family so all of you get the proper care you need?
Here’s a guide on how to choose a family physician that’s right for you and your loved ones.
Ask Your Family, Friends, and Coworkers
First, start off with your social circle. Everyone needs a doctor in their lives, so it’s very likely that all the adults you know have a doctor they can either recommend or warn you off of.
What’s great about asking your family, friends, and coworkers is they only want the best for you. They’ll be willing to sit down with you and answer any questions or concerns you might have about certain doctors.
Do take note that just because a family physician is brilliant for one person doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good fit for your family. But at least it’s a step in the right direction.
Consider Their Location
Next, you should consider where this physician’s office is.
Is it in an easily reachable location? This can be extremely important, especially if many of your family members will require frequent visits. Plus, if you’re not feeling your best, you don’t want to be traveling for a long time to get some medical help.
On that note, how is their parking like? Is it easy to get in and out? Are their lots frequently full and do they charge for parking?
If you don’t drive, or you have family members who will take public transportation on their own, is the physician’s office close to things like bus stops?
The answers to all of the above questions will play an important part in determining whether or not a doctor’s office is right for you.
Consider Their Hours
In addition to the location, you need to think about the business hours too. Whether you work a normal 9 to 5 job or the graveyard shift, it’ll make a huge difference in the available hours you can go see the doctor and/or bring your other family members to their appointments.
Some family physicians account for unconventional schedules and have specific business hours to accommodate them, such as evening and/or weekend appointments. If you need those, then you’ll want to seek out a family doctor that has those hours available.
Look at Who’s in Your Network
When choosing a family medicine doctor, you’ll be somewhat restricted by the health insurance plan you’ve picked for your household. The plan will have a specific list of family physicians who are “in-network.” These are doctors who have negotiated deals with your insurance company to charge discounted rates for their customers.
You’ll want to get a list of these physicians so you don’t accidentally pick someone who’s out of your network.
Of course, you can always pick a doctor that’s out of your network if you really feel like they’re worth it. But in general, you should try and stick to those who are in your network to save some money.
Take Your Culture and Ethnicity Into Consideration
If your family isn’t originally from the United States, you’ll want to keep your culture in mind. This is especially important if you have elderly parents who don’t speak English well and aren’t accustomed to American culture.
It might be a good idea to pick physicians who have experience with people of your ethnicity. Even better: find a doctor who’s of the same ethnicity! Not only will they understand your culture, but they’ll probably speak your language too.
Go for an Initial Visit
A doctor might seem like the perfect one for you on paper, but you’ll never know for sure until you actually meet them in person. Make an appointment and bring some questions to ask.
When you arrive, take a look around the office. Does it seem well taken care of and does the doctor seem to use the latest in technology? Are the receptionists kind and helpful?
Also, take note of how long it takes to be seen. If there’s time, ask the receptionist how far in advance you need to book your next appointment. If any of your household members have a need for quick appointments, then an office that needs you to schedule them far in advance may not be right for you.
Once you’re in the office with the doctor, ask your questions and discuss any special needs you or your loved ones might have. Do they seem patient and open to hearing you out? Or do they seem like they’re trying to hurry you out the door?
Treat this appointment as if it were a job interview and you’re the employer. If you don’t feel comfortable with a certain physician’s office, don’t feel bad about not choosing them for your family.
Choose the Right Family Physician for You
Now that you’ve read this article, hopefully, now you can pick a family physician that’s perfect for you and your loved ones.
Of course, this isn’t foolproof, but you’ll have a better chance of getting a family doctor you like. If you ever feel like your PCP isn’t the right fit, don’t be afraid to look around some more and switch if you’d like. This is your family’s health, after all, and you should feel 100% comfortable with the medical professional who’s caring for you.
Need more health tips besides choosing a family physician? Then please check out our other articles now!