Looking for a new doctor or medical specialist can be challenging, especially when you don’t know where to go or what to do. For people who have just switched insurance plans or are moving somewhere new, finding a doctor is a high priority, but where do we start, and how do we narrow down our search?

Check Within Your Field of Coverage

The first place to look for any doctor is at your local insurance provider. Most doctors and medical offices are affiliated with multiple insurance companies so that policyholders will be covered or discounted for each visit. Your insurance provider will always have an up-to-date record of healthcare facilities within the insurance network, so that’s always a good place to start.

Determine Your Specific Healthcare Needs

To narrow your search, find out exactly what kind of care you need. Did you move to a new city? Look for a primary care physician. Do you struggle with anxiety and depression? Find a therapist.

On an even more specific scale, some specialists are best in a particular part of their field. For example, if someone is looking for a nutritionist to help them with an eating disorder, they’ll need to look for someone specializing in nutrition for people recovering from eating disorders. Even within primary care, physicians organize their practices by age.

Do Your Research

Once you have a list of doctors, do your research. You can search online by looking up the doctor’s name and practice since most healthcare facilities have a staff directory. In some cases, doctors will have their own directory featuring a profile photo, an “about” page, and their specialization. You can also search for reviews online or call your insurance provider for more information. If you get a referral from a close friend or loved one, always look into them as well—some of the best matches are from referrals!

Consider Accessibility

Finding a doctor is excellent, but you’ll have to be able to get to the doctor in the first place. Is the office somewhere you need to drive to? How far away is it? A doctor or specialist’s office location—especially in relation to testing facilities—will weigh into your final decision. Appointment times are another critical factor to consider since you’ll have to meet them at some point in person.

Never Settle

Most importantly, never settle on a doctor. If you and your doctor don’t “click,” always keep looking. Whether they’re a primary care physician or a health specialist, your doctor will need to understand how you work both physically and emotionally. You are ultimately in charge of your own healthcare, and if a doctor does not take you seriously, makes you uncomfortable, or just doesn’t seem right, go with your gut and keep searching.

 

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