Doctor thinking in doctor?s office

There comes a time in your life where you must say goodbye to your pediatrician and your parents’ insurance plan–it’s time to find a new doc. However, selecting a new doctor isn’t as simple as picking your next smartphone. Because, hello, where do you even start?

How to find a new doctor:

If you are going to be living in the same area for a while, your best bet is to ask your current doctor who he or she recommends. It’s likely they know about other practices in the area and will be able to personally vouch for their recommendation. If that’s not an option, you can always visit the doctor’s office your parents use and then go from there. Chances are if you don’t think your parents’ physician is a good fit for you, they will still be able to point you in a new direction.

If you are moving to a different city and need to find a new doctor, don’t rely on walk-in clinics for your healthcare needs. Find out if your new workplace has online message boards where employees discuss different businesses in the area. Alternatively, if you were recruited, ask your recruiter if they can recommend a practice to you. As a third option, you can always ask your co-workers for their two cents on the matter. Despite many websites which report reviews of healthcare providers, word or mouth is still the best way to find out which doctors you should consider and which ones you should avoid.

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When first narrowing down your selection, your number one deciding factor should be whether or not they accept your insurance. Once you’ve made that list, you can then begin looking at what other services and conveniences they offer. Consider whether or not your choices offer:

  • same-day appointments

  • online appointment scheduling

  • extended hours or after-hours care

  • an attached walk-in clinic or similar service

Make sure you inquire about other practical information as well when you call to make your first appointment. Ask about parking (onsite? is it free?), office hours (will you need to miss work every time you need to visit the doctor?), if more than one doctor is available to see patients, and ask about what other services they offer, such as onsite blood work. A practice that offers a wide range of services will streamline the amount of doctors you’ll need and will be able to keep a better record of your overall health.

Both your time and your health are precious. Take care that the physician you choose for yourself is one that you like, is convenient for your schedule, and can take care of your healthcare needs in as few visits as possible.