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Finding the Right Doctor

When you need expert help, you want to find the best qualified professional. But finding the right doctor is much different than finding a mechanic. Take the time to do the research. Here are three steps to finding the right doctor.

1. Make a List of Potential Doctors

  • Start with the network. If your health insurance plan features a specified network, begin your search with those doctors. If you are not limited by the provider network, then you may have more options.
  • Ask friends or family for references. One of the strongest reasons to choose a doctor is the recommendation of somebody who is under their care. A doctor’s reputation is based on their patients’ satisfaction. That should tell you something about the quality of their care.
  • Check local resources. Check with local hospitals to see if they have a referral service. If you’re moving to a new area, recruit your current doctor to help you find a qualified doctor near your new home.

2. Research and Narrow Your List

  • Ask questions. Contact the doctors on your list and ask for information about their background. Some of these questions might include:
    • What is the doctor’s training and education?
    • How long has he or she been in practice?
    • (If important to you) What is the doctor’s age and gender?
    • Is the doctor board-certified? (This requires specialty training.)
  • Go online. Search online for articles about the doctors you are considering.

3. Meet Your Doctor(s)

  • Meet and greet. Once you’ve narrowed your list to a handful of doctors, set up an appointment so you can get to know the candidates. Bring a set of written questions you’d like to ask, and be prepared to discuss any concerns. Some offices charge a small fee for a meet and greet, but it will be well worth it.
  • Make your choice. By now, you should have a really good idea of the doctor that's right for you. No matter how difficult the choice may be, remember that you do have a choice. Chances are, if you've done everything outlined here, you have found the right doctor for you, but save your research in case you consider switching doctors in the future.
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