What do you call a physician who graduated at the bottom of their medical school class? “Doctor,” of course!
The truth is that not all doctors are created equally. And when you are trying to find an injury doctor for yourself or your family, you should only accept the very best.
Wondering how to find a doctor that perfectly suits your needs? Keep reading to discover the answers!
The Network Secret
Roughly speaking, there are two ways a doctor can be “just right” for you. They can be just right for your body and they can be just right for your wallet!
This is why you need to investigate whether doctors you are interested in are part of your network or not. If they are, you may end up paying out of pocket for any visits.
For injury treatment, you’ll be making plenty of visits. So you’ll want to make sure the best injury doctor in the area is also part of your network!
Online Reviews (And a Grain of Salt)
What’s the first thing you do when you’re considering a major online purchase? Simple: you check what the user reviews have to say.
Researching a doctor is no different. It’s important to see what other patients have said…but it’s also important to take everything with a grain of salt.
Roughly speaking, there are only two kinds of people who leave online reviews: those who really loved their experience and those who really hated it.
The majority of patients likely fall somewhere in the middle. So while online reviews are a great way to research potential red flags, keep in mind that everyone is going to have some negative reviews from a few disgruntled customers.
After you have checked out the online referrals, you should take the next step: asking family, friends, and coworkers for personal referrals.
With any luck, you can trust these people more than anonymous online reviewers. Therefore, what they have to say about the doctor should carry much more weight.
Don’t be afraid to ask many questions about a particular doctor. This is the perfect way to find out about general pricing, services offered, and what kinds of insurance they honor.
Keep in mind that everything is relative (more on this later). For best results, you should get referrals from friends that have a similar personality and temperament to your own.
The Right Expertise
As you can imagine, “injury doctor” is a specialty field. Therefore, it’s important to verify that the doctor you are interested in has the right expertise for the job.
For example, someone in General Practice may be able to help with certain injuries. But if your child has been injured, you will certainly need a Pediatric doctor instead.
And if you are worried about more extensive and hidden damage, you may need a specialist in Internal Medicine. Ultimately, who you turn to for medical help hinges on the nature of the injuries.
Certified and Verified
This is a follow-up to checking on their expertise. Once you are certain of the kind of doctor you need, it’s important to check on the certifications they have.
At the bare minimum, you will want to check on any board certifications that the doctor has. These certifications will show what areas of specialty they have decided to focus on and stay concurrent with.
As part of this research, you may also be able to uncover anything shady about the doctor’s past. This includes malpractice claims (more on this later) that may affect whether you trust their services or not.
Before you become an official patient, we recommend scheduling a “getting to know you” visit with the doctor. And as part of that visit, you should pay special attention to the time everyone spends with you.
Do the front office staff and nurses seem like they are rushing through your visit? If so, that may be a sign of how they will treat you as a patient.
Does the doctor himself take the time to answer your questions and ease your concerns? If he is constantly checking his watch, this may be a sign he doesn’t have enough time to truly attend to your needs.
So far, we have focused on the doctor’s reputation and personality. However, you should also consider practical concerns such as where their office is located.
For example, someone with a sterling reputation may be located 30 minutes from your home. But you may not want to drive that distance every single time, especially if you are being treated for an injury.
In fact, it may be wiser overall to choose a closer doctor. Not only will this make individual visits easier and save you time, but you’ll be that much closer in the event of an emergency.
Remember when we mentioned certain “red flags” to be on the lookout for? One of the biggest red flags is any malpractice cases the doctor was involved in.
Negative online reviews are one thing. After all, everyone has a subjective experience. But malpractice claims are things that you can personally verify that the doctor was a part of.
It’s not necessarily the end of the world if someone has had a single malpractice claim. But if there are multiple claims, then we can’t ignore that the doctor is the common denominator in this problem.
You can afford to be as thorough as you want. Don’t forget that you can look up any doctor’s license online and discover any documents related to disciplinary action.
Your Own “Second Opinion”
In the medical community, the second opinion is a powerful thing. When you don’t fully trust a single diagnosis, you can always get an additional diagnosis from another doctor.
Our next bit of advice is a variation of that: you should bring a friend to the doctor’s office to get your own “second opinion” about how everyone has treated you.
This is smart because not everyone can pick up on when someone is being rude or brusque. And it’s better to find out at the “getting to know you” meeting than after you become a formal patient.
As an added bonus, this same person can come with you to future appointments. That can be really handy if you are not used to speaking up for yourself and your needs.
Prescriptions and Reputation
The next factor when it comes to how to choose a doctor is their prescription style. In short, you will want to match your own needs and personality with the prescription style of the doctor.
For example, some doctors have a reputation for quickly writing prescriptions. This can be good for someone who needs medicine without a lot of argument or paperwork.
However, others might be nervous about developing some kind of drug dependency. If that sounds like you, then you may want a doctor that goes easier on making prescriptions.
You should also find out if the doctor tends to push new pills or higher-priced medicine instead of what is best for you. You want a physician who is watching out for your long-term health and not just their short-term bottom line.
Everything Is Relative
It may be obvious by now, but we’ll say it just in case. When it comes to visiting the doctor, everyone’s experiences are relative.
Someone who only sees their primary care physician once a year may speak about the man in glowing terms. But another person who sees the same doctor every month may think he has a terrible bedside manner.
Similarly, someone expecting their doctor to be a vending machine for pills may be disappointed if he is cautious about prescriptions. Another patient may see that as the doctor going the extra mile for his patients.
Ultimately, you’re the only one who can figure out whether a doctor is right for you, your needs, and your family. And that means you’re going to have to go with your gut.
Go With Your Gut
This has all led to a very obvious question: how will you know when you’ve found the right doctor?
The short answer is that you won’t know it. Instead, you’ll feel it.
No matter how much research and how many referrals you have, all of this is going to come down to your own instincts. And at the end of the day, you either trust this person with your life or you don’t.
It’s easy to get nervous about this and worry about having “bad” instincts. But there’s no such thing: when all else fails, go with your gut.
You’ll be amazed at how intuitive your instincts really are!
How to Find a Doctor: The Bottom Line
Now you know the secrets for how to find a doctor. But do you know how to stay healthy between sessions?
We specialize in helping people achieve a balance in mind, body, and spirit. And we have the information necessary for you to live your best life each and every day.
To see how we can minimize those doctor visits, check out our Health section today!