When you want to find doctors who are covered by your insurance in your area, it can seem like you’re wandering in a maze. Perhaps they are not taking new patients or perhaps their wait times are three months out. Sometimes you need a specialist in something ranging from physical therapy to a niche aspect of internal medicine. Sometimes you just need to find doctors that fit your list of primary care practitioners in order to no longer rely on emergency room care for medical treatment.
The demand for health care keeps rising and the system is sometimes overwhelmed. For example, by 2030, more than half of Baby Boomers will be trying to treat a chronic condition. More than three million patients each Navigate the maze of finding the right medical professionals for your needs with these three simple steps.
1. Utilize Online Databases
Your insurance company likely has a database of doctors in your area, as well as sophisticated search functions that allow you to sort by type of doctor, location, and even by hospital. Individual hospitals also often have easily searchable databases and these databases often have the contact information that you’ll need to reach the most relevant office to ask questions and make your appointment. A good research technique is to search the name and location of potential medical professionals you might want to visit in order to find additional information about them online.
2. Stay Organized
There’s a lot of information out there. You can keep track of your progress by making a spreadsheet of possible doctors your would like to see, along with contact info, specialty, institution and availability. A spreadsheet will help you keep everything straight. You can also use the spreadsheet to list your appointment times or whether you need to call the office back. If you use an electronic calendar, enter reminders for yourself.
3. Keep Your Appointments and Come Prepared
Due to increase scheduling demands, missing an appointment can often come with fees or the consequence of being tossed further down the back log. Many people have to wait months for their appointment. Since you’ll likely be spending a limited amount of time with your doctor, make a list of things you would like to discuss such as any health changes or concerns, symptoms you are worried about, or questions you might have about current conditions.
Of course, it’s important to remember that while trying to find doctors in your area and keeping your appointments you can take your own steps to stay healthy as well. Nine out of 10 baby boomers state that they exercise a few days per month, so hopefully, you are part of the majority! Diet and exercise go a long way towards a healthy, happy life!