How do I find a Doctor?

Have you moved?  Your doctor is retiring?  Need a specialist? Or, you and your doctor are just not connecting the way you’d like to?  Sounds like it’s time to begin your search for a new healthcare professional. There are lots of excellent docs and nurse practitioners out there so take your time and look for one who suits you best.  Not as easy as it seems?  Here are a few tips to help you get started.

A great place to begin your search is to ask a nurse.  They work closely with doctors and they know who’s who, so to speak.  Nurses have guided me toward the best and steered me away from the less than ideal docs.  I took one nurses advice and found a super smart, patient internist when we lived in San Antonio.  A great fit for me and my husband.

Don’t know any nurses?  Call the local hospital and ask for The Director of Nurses.  If she doesn’t know anyone, it’s likely she’ll refer you to another nurse who does.  Well, okay, you still haven’t found a nurse who can locate a doc for you, check in with http://www.nurses.org and start asking.  You can also look at http://www.Nmanet.org and ask them for a referral in your local area.  Don’t overlook nurse practitioners.  Generally speaking, they have more time open in their schedule (easier and quicker to get an appointment)and can spend those significant extra minutes with you.  It’s what most patients want – more time with their healthcare professional.

Still haven’t found a doc yet who meets your needs?  Contact your local, couny medical society. Just about every county in the country has one.  Let Ms. Google help you.

You can always ask your friends, family and neighbors.  I was referred to a doctor by a friend who was a great listener, wrote any prescriptions I needed, but never put a stethoscope on my chest.  Crossed him off my list.  Two neighbors recommended a doc who unfortunately, was not taking any new patients.  Next I met with a young, concierge (always there when you need them) physician who came to me via my neighbor – a nurse.  She charged a monthly fee ( $119) and didn’t take insurance.  Nope.  My most successful attempt at finding a new doc was asking my ophthalmologist for an internal medicine referral.  Bingo!   That worked.  At first I wasn’t sure she and I would connect, but after a second meeting,  I have chosen to go back to her.  Sometimes, we need to give a new healthcare professional a second chance before we cross them off our list unless it’s blatantly obvious this ain’t going to work. As you can tell, I’m pretty fussy when it comes to my choice of healthcare professionals!

One more way – if you have been to a multi-speciality practice, that’s a pretty simple and direct way to find a doc who specializes in a particular problem you’re having. Concierge practices, if you don’t mind paying the fee, are also wonderful at providing truly excellent customer service quickly and will guide you toward the appropriate  specialist. They’ll likely have a list of experts who only treat your specific healthcare issue. It’s certainly one of the advantages of having your concierge physician on “speed dial.”  Plus, if they call and request an appointment for you,  be assured you’ll get an appointment quicker than if you called yourself.

You can also check any recommendations you get on Yelp to see what others think of their docs.  I wouldn’t solely rely on their opinions unless everyone writes they love or  really didn’t love the doc.  You know what I mean.

For a quick summation of the above:

Ask a nurse you know.
Don’t know one? Call the Dir. of Nurses at your local hospital
Google a nursing society – http://www.nurses.org.
Check in with your http://www.Nmanet.org and ask for a referral in your local area.
Contact the local county medical society. Let Ms. Google help you.

When you’re looking for a new health care provider consider these options:
Talk to your friends.
Query your current doctor/nurse practitioner
Choose to pay your current doctor out of pocket, if they no longer take insurance and you want to continue as a patient of that practice.
Multi-specialty practices are ideal for referrals as are concierge practices.
Go to Yelp and read about the experiences others have had with a healthcare provider.

I  know there are plenty of dedicated, smart healthcare professionals out there.  Keep asking and looking until you find the one who is right for you. #whywait  #trustyourdoctorbutnotthatmuch.

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