Find the best physician for you, a.k.a. “How to fire your doctor” Part II of II

My experiences and those of others I know is proof that medical providers can also be rated on a 1 to 10 scale (just like pain). However, in rating doctors, one is the worst case scenario and 10 is the best. If you feel your doctor is less than a “10,” I suggest a change.

Here are the 3 steps I took to land where I’m at today, with outstanding medical care.

Step #1 – I made phone calls to my insurance company and my insurance specialist (agent – personal or the company agent where you work). It’s important to gain a good understanding of your current health insurance plan, what keywords to look for when sifting through online databases or when calling around.

I had and still have an HMO. I learned what “network” I was in so I could search for other doctors that accepted my insurance. It was almost like constructing a diagram / web as I was trying to configure the right doctors that all fell under the same umbrella. For me, the specialists I have access to are my main concern and focus. I was primarily focused on neurology, OB/GYN, and primary care.

I knew that if I could land in the right specialists’ hands, I could find the right general practitioner (primary care doctor) that would align too. I not only had to fire my doctor, it ended up that I had to fire my entire primary care group and change groups to seek quality healthcare and another choice of specialists.

Step #2 – I put in some serious research time, both on medical group websites and through my health insurance provider (I have Blue Shield HMO). Regarding physicians, I read their backgrounds, education, special areas of interest, specialties, mission statements, awards, and involvements (boards, societies).

If your type of health condition has a lot of studies associated with it, check out Google Scholar – see if any specialists in your area have been on a research team or are published regarding the condition. My physicians are hugely involved and dedicated to their profession and it shows. They know the cutting-edge treatments and also what is in the pharmaceutical pipeline that could be the perfect solution for you! They know the likely side effects and benefits of a wide variety of therapies. Their knowledge of drug treatment options, procedures, and best practices is astonishing, respectable, and a lifeline.

One of my practitioners shares with me her own experience with treatments and medications she herself uses. It absolutely establishes a strong connection and provides comfort knowing that she is recommending something she has used.

Your research will really allow you to have a significant understanding of different providers. One research tunnel I do not rely on are social sites that allow people to anonymously complain or comment on publicly about physicians.

Allowing anonymous people to post opens the door for competitors who have been known to post negative comments to drive business away from other doctors. I’m not saying some people don’t have a valid complaint, but I have never found it reliable to look at those sites. I’d rather rely on hard research and accomplishments. It all boils down to finding the most qualified doctor and meeting them in person to see how you feel when interacting with them.

Step #3 – I called the doctors’ offices I was interested in. I wanted to make sure all the pieces to the pie, so to speak, fit together. I verified my insurance was accepted, my anticipated co-pays, and set an initial consultation with each.

You truly may miss out on an ideal provider if you let someone else’s negative review attempt to taint your mind about them.   The best person to gauge ability, skill, and compassion of a doctor is you.

Your health care provider plays a huge part in your well-being. It is worth the time, energy, and dedication to find the right doctor. After all, without good health, what do we have?  As with everything in life, we get what we put into it.

Coming next:  Asleep at the wheel?  Learning how our body clock works

Please consider sharing this article with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers.  Let’s help each other reach optimal health.  

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