When faced with the challenge of choosing a new primary care provider, so many people simply throw up their hands and pick the first doctor their insurance company recommends. Sometimes everything works out, and you end up with a provider who is well suited to your needs. But why leave things to chance? If you take a little more time and apply the advice below, you're more likely to land with a provider who meets your unique needs.
Pick a doctor who is close by
When everything is going well, patients only see their primary care provider once a year for a checkup. So, you may initially assume it's no big deal to drive a little further to visit your primary care provider. But what if you do become sick and need to see your doctor weekly for a while? You won't enjoy having to drive an hour, one way, to the doctor, then. So, look for a primary care provider who is a short drive from your home. If you use public transportation, then make sure their office is easily reachable via bus or train.
Look for someone who has an easy-to-use online platform
These days, most doctor's offices maintain some type of medical records for their patients online. There are several different types of portals and platforms that doctors use. So, as you are deciding between primary care providers, make sure you take the time to visit their websites and try navigating their patient platforms. You want to choose a doctor whose platform you find easy to interact with.
Ask about waiting time for appointments
As you call and talk to various doctors' offices, make sure you ask how soon they are able to book appointments. If you are someone with a chronic illness and you need to see your doctor often, this is especially important. It will also be important if you ever need a doctor's note for work. You want to choose a doctor who can fit you in within a day or two. Otherwise, you might be left going to urgent care when you need treatment sooner, which means you won't be getting care from a doctor who knows you as well.
Finding a primary care provider can take some patience and calling around. But when you do find a doctor whose location, online platform, and availability better suit your needs, you will really appreciate what they have to offer.