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Here are 5 guidelines for finding a great doctor that connects with you

When it comes to searching for the right doctor to fit both a person’s physical and emotional needs, the process can feel a bit overwhelming. Not only are there numerous physicians to choose from, but there are also multiple specialties to look through. How does a person discern who is the best doctor for them?

Figuring Out Insurance First

Under new Obamacare health reform, personalized healthcare is changing. Many people are seeking out new insurance providers for a variety of reasons. Either their current doctor is no longer under their existing insurance, their rates have changed, or their plans have switched completely.

In seeking out the right doctor, first look into insurance and discover which doctors are covered by your existing plan. Because of insurance changes, this can prove a challenge, so it is important to understand your plan before considering available doctors.

Sifting Through Specialties Second

When deciding on a physician, you can begin narrowing down the search with what kind of treatment you need. Perhaps you are hoping to establish a relationship with a primary care physician and his or her general practice. Or you may have a specific health condition that is pointing you towards a specialist such as an oncologist, podiatrist or a neurologist.

You might also be searching for alternative medicine. This can come from natural based practices such as a naturopathic or homeopathic specialist. Perhaps you are looking for a doctor to focus on your spine or muscles. Chiropractors, osteopaths and even acupuncturists can be very helpful in these situations and help you to avoid surgery. Consider every option in order to have a well-rounded knowledge of what is available and what can best suit your personal medical needs.

Check Credentials

A doctor’s credentials help explain his or her experience and knowledge in the field. Where a doctor performed his or her residency proves one of the most influential factors when it comes to approach and technique. This is because what they learned and how they learned to do it is dependent upon who they interned under.

Insurance companies should have doctor credentials available. Websites like zocdoc also offer credential information. And simply calling the doctor’s office is another great way to learn about a physician’s credentials.

Not all doctors are required to be board certified. However, being board certified means the doctor is an expert in a particular specialty. Passing the boards is not an easy exam. Thus, doctors must achieve a thorough knowledge of their area of expertise in order to be labeled as qualified.

What to Watch for On Your First Visit

One of the best methods for finding a comfortable and knowledgeable doctor is to go ahead and visit their practice for a consultation. When there, pay attention to how the physician interacts with other patients and the staff. Also watch for how nurses and administrative staff treat patients in the front office and with the doctor. If there is a lack of respect and a condescending attitude toward patients, this practice might not be the best option available. Instead, hold out for a quality doctor who demonstrates true care for his or her patients.

Ask These Question

While visiting, have a list of questions prepared to ask both the staff at the practice and the doctor. Great questions include:

How available is the physician? By phone? Email? Appointment only?

How long will it be before a call or email is returned? Does the doctor return the calls, or do staff members?

What is your health philosophy?

Do you ever treat with or consider natural remedies?

Finding a trustworthy physician is not always an easy task, but taking the time to search for one that is a great fit will definitely be worth your while.

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