Most people find themselves looking for a new doctor unexpectedly. Perhaps your doctor has retired, you are moving, or you are ill and need medical care right away. Regardless of why you are looking for a doctor, it is important not to rush that decision. You want to make sure the physician you select not only works with your health insurance provider but that they are the best fit for your care needs.
Typically, most patients will only consider in-network provider status, how close the office is to home or work, and how quickly they can get in. While these are good qualities, they are the tip of the iceberg and no indication that the physician themselves will take care of them properly.
Medical malpractice is quite common in the United States. While these incidents do not always result in a lawsuit, they can leave patients with severe injuries or long-term complications that could have been prevented. Malpractice occurs when a physician’s negligence causes serious harm to their patient. Negligence can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a doctor that is too busy to give each patient adequate time or a physician that is more concerned with billing than patient care.
Regardless, you can avoid becoming a statistic just by weeding out physicians that are more likely to commit a severe error and finding one that focuses on quality care.
Steps to Finding the Right Physician in Alpharetta
Use these tips and steps to find the right physician for you and the entire family. Even if you are in a time crunch, try to implement as many of these as you can.
Go to a Doctor That Is Friendly
Your family physician will know intimate details about your life and health. You will need to confide in them and feel confident enough to discuss what is wrong. This is impossible to do when the doctor is unfriendly or even dismissive.
Meet with the doctor for a consultation appointment and get a feel for their attitude. How nice is that physician when you meet with them? Are they dismissive of your concerns? Do they interrupt you while talking? Do they smile or shake your hand?
Time Investment Capabilities
Right now, doctors spend only 17 minutes with each patient. A physician should not be more concerned with going room to room and getting patients out like an assembly line. Instead, they should remain in the room to answer your questions and show that they are there to invest time in your care. If you notice that they are rushed or the doctor is halfway out the door before you can ask anything, you may want to move on to another physician.
Rushed physicians are more likely to make a mistake somewhere in patient care – especially when it comes to diagnosing.
Doctors who communicate with patients are less likely to make diagnostic errors or prescription errors. They get a patient’s history, review concerns, discuss symptoms, and make better care decisions.
Your potential physician should listen to you. And when you leave the office, you should have your questions answered and not be left wondering. For example, if you received new medications, you should know why they are prescribed, what they are treating, side effects, the proper dosage, and when you should be seen again to follow up.
Caring about Costs
You want a physician that does not order unnecessary medications or tests that end up eating away at your health insurance benefits and eventually costing you hundreds out-of-pocket. At the same time, you want a physician to order a test if they genuinely feel it is necessary to diagnose you accurately. A physician that strikes a balance between these two and looks for ways to take care of a patient without considering how much they will make off that visit is always more valuable.
What If a Physician’s Negligence Injures You?
Sometimes mistakes happen despite your best efforts to find a competent physician. When that happens, speak with an attorney that specializes in medical malpractice cases. Doctors are held to a higher standard, and they are required to provide care to their patients without causing them harm.