Choosing a Doctor
Having trouble choosing the right doctor for you? With today’s mobile society, fewer people continue seeing the same doctor throughout their lives. When it comes time to choose a doctor, you may be a bit lost with the possibilities. Here are some tips on finding a doctor who suits your needs.
Questions to Ask
Before looking for a doctor, first think about what you want and need.
- Do you need a primary care doctor who can provide care for you and your children? Or would separate doctors for the adults and for the children be better?
- Do you have special health needs that should to be addressed?
- Are you looking for a doctor who takes a personal interest in patients or one with a more business-like approach?
- Do you prefer a male or female doctor?
- What age range should your doctor be in?
- Where should your doctor’s office be located?
Where to Look
Many hospitals, including Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett, offer free doctor referral services. These services are designed to match your needs and preferences with doctors in your area. By using a computer database, hospital referral services can match you with doctors based on several criteria, including area of specialization, office locations, health insurance, experience and board certifications. You can access the Saint Francis Physician Referral Service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling (901) 820-7022.
Making a Decision
Once you’ve narrowed down a small group of doctors, you may want to look into specifics that are important to you, such as:
- Medical training (schools attended, residency programs, fellowships, etc.)
- Length of time in practice
- Hospital affiliations
- Area(s) of expertise or interest
- Board certification
Once you choose a doctor, call his or her office to see if the doctor is accepting new patients. Talk to the office staff to find out how long it takes to get an appointment. Ask questions about billing, including whether the office will submit insurance forms for you. Find out who covers for the doctor and how emergency and weekend appointments are handled. Remember that the office staff and nurses play an important role in your overall satisfaction with your health care.
Schedule an initial visit with the doctor you have chosen. This should be a time to get to know the doctor and see if you feel comfortable with him or her. Be sure and make a list of any questions or concerns you have.
If your initial visit doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to try another doctor. Finding a doctor you feel comfortable with means you’re more likely to comply with the health care advice you’re given. Trust your instincts when choosing a new doctor.