So, you need a doctor. Everyone has a recommendation – and you can Google all day. But finding a physician that is right for you and your family isn’t like buying a car. Finding the right physician is as much about chemistry as almost any other relationship. Here are some guidelines for you!
Beyond selecting a general practitioner or specialist with the specific training and expertise you are looking for, it’s important to have a comfort level and open, easy channels of communication, says Dr. Michael Palumbo, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President at White Plains Hospital, and himself a board-certified internal medicine physician.
“The doctor-patient relationship is one of privilege and privacy, and patients should feel secure sharing personal details with their provider that will help inform him or her of the best plan of care,” he says.
Whether it is a personality style, gender preference, cultural background, or all of the above, be sure that the doctor you choose is right not just on paper, but in person as well.
Before that, here are some simple steps for setting out on the road to Dr. Right:
- First, call your insurer for a list of approved doctors or ask whether the doctor you're considering is in-network with your particular plan.
- Meet with the physician. Just like a job interview, it’s perfectly appropriate to ask for a brief consultation with the physician before any formal relationship begins. They should be comfortable answer a few specific questions which will give you a feel for their personality, work style and approach to care.
- Consider the hospitals with which the physician is affiliated. There is plenty of information out there now about reputation and quality metrics.
Many hospitals and medical practices now offer searchable databases to help identify a doctor that might be right for your need, such as White Plains Hospital’s “Find a Doctor.” In addition, some doctors now provide photos, bios and even brief videos that provide the opportunity to learn more about them.
Alternatively, you can call 914-849-MyMD to find the right provider for your needs.