Selecting a Healthcare Provider
With my healthcare background, I’m frequently asked who’s a good doctor. I don’t have experience with all the providers in the Valley, but I do have some qualities I think are important to consider when selecting a doctor for your family.
A good place to start is with the list of doctors provided by your particular health plan. We all have to live within our budgets or pay the consequences literally. Preferred providers for your health plan usually provide services at less out-of-pocket cost. Be cautious when using the Internet to select a provider. Web sites affiliated with your health plan should be fine, but there are some Internet web sites where the doctors’ qualities are not accurate or where they only allow certain doctors to be listed.
Next, you’ll want to determine the type of provider you are searching for. Primary care doctors are specialists in providing general care to your family. There are 4 main types of doctors in this category:
- Family Practice: Offers care to patients of all ages
- Pediatrician: Offers care to infants, children, and adolescents
- Internal Medicine: Offers care to adults of all ages
- Geriatric: Offers care to the elderly
Determine the needs of your family. Do you prefer having one doctor for the whole family or do you want a doctor who specializes in the needs of patients in a certain age range? The next question to ask is if the doctor is board certified in their area practice. A board certified physician has completed additional training in their specialty, passed a competency exam, and participates in continuing medical education to maintain their certification. You’ll also want to know if the doctor uses nurse practitioners or physician assistants to see patients in the office. Ask what hospitals the doctor has privileges in as well.
The next important factor in determining a doctor for your family is his or her availability. You’ll want to know if they are accepting new patients and how long you have to wait for an appointment. It’s good to know where their office is located., what their normal office hours are, and how they handle urgent healthcare needs. Will the doctor discuss healthcare problems over the phone?
During your initial visit with a healthcare provider, pay attention to how you feel. Does the doctor listen well and address your questions? Does the doctor speak in terms you can understand? Do you agree on the treatment plan prescribed? Do you share the same philosophy on when to use a specialist and the role of complementary or alternative medicine? Do you think you could build a good working relationship with this doctor and their office staff?
Remember to consult our Great Physician. I always pray for my healthcare providers and for discernment over health issues. I’d be happy to pray for your healthcare needs, too. Feel free to contact me here at church.
In Christ’s Caring,
Denise Viker , Parish Nurse