All About Family Doctors
Family doctors are doctors who take care of the whole family. These doctors get to know their patients and they create relationships with the patients as well as their families. They listen to their patients and help them make the right decisions as far as health care is concerned.
Family doctors can help you and your family live a healthier life. The main focus of family doctors is preventive care as early detection of medical issues not only leads to good success rate but may also be life saving in many cases. Since there are a number of places to receive care these days including traditional clinics, emergency room as well as urgent care clinics, many people find it challenging when it comes to the overall direction of their healthcare.
A family doctor helps you in navigating the healthcare system and he or she can help in improving your health and reducing your medical bills. Without a family doctor or a primary doctor, you may not be able to connect the dots when it comes to proper health care.
A qualified family doctor always looks at the big picture. He or she acts as a partner to make sure you get appropriate health care checkups and health maintenance at the right time.
Some of the advantages of a family doctor include continued care, fewer visits to the local emergency room, consistent preventive care and one-stop resource for your health care needs. Also, multiple family members can go see one person. The family doctor get to know you as well as your family with regular visits.
Finding a Good Family Doctor
It is important to research family doctors in your area to make sure that you have a good doctor. It is important to do your research ahead of time instead of waiting for an emergency when you may choose a doctor who is not the best fit for your needs. Here is a list of some of the factors you should consider to choose the perfect family doctor for your needs.
First and foremost, it depends on the kind of health insurance you have. For instance, some insurance companies require you to see doctors in a particular network and if that’s the case, you need to ensure that you will be able to pay out of pocket cost for the doctor who is not part of that network.
Another factor you need to consider is the medical specialty or specific background of the doctor. You may need a doctor specializing in specific areas and that may restrict your choice. Distance is a factor you need to consider as you may not want to travel too far for appointments. Also consider the working hours of the doctor as some doctors offer care in the evening as well as weekend hours.
Once you have created a pool of potential doctors, it is time to prune down the list in order to find the best fit for your specific needs. You should begin by calling their offices to check any concerns you may have.
You should also ask the staff to schedule an appointment to check out the facilities and meet the doctor. When you go to meet a potential doctor, take note of the courtesy shown by the office staff as well as the time you needed to spend while waiting for the appointment.
Once you reach the office, ask them about the hospital where the doctor normally treats the patients and the time it takes to get a routine appointment. Some doctors are very busy and may not be accepting new patients. Check the general office hours and general availability of the doctor. Ask them the time it takes to get an appointment in case of an urgent need.
The doctor may not speech speak the language you are most comfortable with. In such cases, there should be facility of a translator to make sure you are able to get the best medical care. You should also check whether the doctor is board certified in family practice and if there is a replacement available when the doctor is on vacation or out of town.
In addition to the above factors, you should also consider the personal style and communication skills of the doctor. The doctor should be easy to talk with and should listen to your concerns when you explain your problems. Some doctors constantly interrupt and do not allow patients to explain their health concerns. Ideally, you should go to a doctor who encourages you to ask any specific questions you may have regarding a particular problem.
If the doctor is board certified and meets the above specifications, your decision should be based on your instincts. In case you are still not certain, you should make a few visits and take some time to develop relationship before you make your final choice.
Looking at the Pros & Cons of Concierge Medicine
There are many different options out there when it comes to medicine and getting treatment, but one that many people overlook (or simply don’t know about) is concierge medicine. Also often referred to by the name of “retainer medicine,” this refers to a system where individuals pay an annual fee to a doctor or medical provider in exchange for that provider limiting the amount of patients they see, thus keeping them available for you whenever they are needed.
Most clinics, offices, and certainly hospitals don’t work on a concierge basis, and it’s unconventional enough in modern times that it is easy to see why. While estimates vary wildly, it’s believed that in the United States only 800 to 5,000 doctors practice this style fully or even partially. The doctors get a guaranteed payment for an entire year while the patient can rest easy knowing that when needed, they have extra medical attention on hand and ready to deliver. The retainer fee might be high enough to include all visits and services delivered by a local clinic or this might be in addition to flat fees paid based on what treatment is needed, that will vary based on practice to practice.
Not Just for the Wealthy
While modern concierge medicine is often most associated with the wealthy, and there are plans that require $30,000 a year for keeping a clinic on retainer, in many areas there is an increasing movement by many doctors to create “membership clinics” that are much more open. The idea is having a set number of doctors at each of these clinics and a limited amount of memberships. A membership is often something affordable like $60 a month (often an annual membership is required for stability’s sake) and then $10 flat for each visit.
By knowing the number of memberships available people can count on same day treatment and quick quality medical service while each clinic knows the amount of money coming in and what salary each person can draw without having to worry about being flooded with cases or the overall ups and downs that come with running a general practice.
Pros of Going Concierge
There are several major benefits that come with concierge medicine treatment. One of the major ones is the ability to get immediate coverage and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that a patient can get same day treatment. This constant access to quality health care makes a huge difference and can’t be denied.
Another benefit is that most patients swear the visits are longer and much higher quality. General surveys seem to bear this out. Without huge waiting rooms crammed with people during flu season, there is almost never a heavy push towards getting a person out of their appointment as quickly as possible. Longer appointments means more thorough care, a better doctor-patient relationship, and many patients find this leads to much better results for them, especially over the long term.
For many patients, this is also a much less expensive option than going with conventional insurance coverage, and the doctors at these clinics can often offer better prices by needing cash up front since processing insurance payments takes up to 40% of the common overhead expenses of any given medical clinic.
Cons of Concierge Medical Treatments
That being said, despite the many benefits of concierge medicine there are also some potential negatives to this treatment, as well. One of the immediate ones is the need for insurance for really serious issues like cancer treatment or emergency surgery. Often times this type of treatment is firmly in the insurance/hospital area and the types of individuals or clinics who offer concierge services won’t be equipped to handle that level of treatment need.
There’s also the need to have a certain amount of cash up front. When you deal with these services since they don’t get reimbursed, they need to make sure they are taken care of right off the bat. While this shouldn’t be a big issue for most people looking at this treatment option, it remains a valid one.
Looking at the Big Picture
There are many pros and cons that come when looking at treatment via concierge medicine and while it might not be right for everyone, there’s a lot to like about the overall look and benefits that these plans have to offer.
Top Tips for Finding an Effective Family Medicine Practice
Contrary to belief, family doctors still offering many services similar to their predecessors; however, home visits are no longer available except in emergency situations. While many people tend to visit general practitioners at a general medical practice, it is seen that many health insurance companies now require one is registered with a family doctor to be referred to specialists when seeking specialized health care. Unfortunately, these types of physicians are difficult to find and limited in the types of injuries they can treat. This article will provide some tips on how to find an effective family medicine practice.
1. Ensures Overall Health
The ideal family doctor is one who operates in a family medicine practice ensuring your overall health. Unlike specialist physicians who treat certain conditions, the family doctor will receive specialized training to treat the whole body. This type of professional will take care of patients of various ages and suffering from different conditions. Furthermore, the treatment will involve both physical and psychological elements.
2. Updated Education and Training
In order to become a family doctor, it is necessary to undergo an addition three years training in a family medical practice treating patients. The real-life training may be in a hospital, medical clinic or a home. While these doctors do not specialize in a particular field of medicine, they must remain up to date with the latest developments in general medical practice to ensure they are aware of new medical techniques. It is also necessary that family doctors indicate their awareness of training by undergoing re-certification more regularly than another other type of physician.
3. Good Primary and Preventative Care
While you may not have any health difficulties, it is recommended you register with a family medicine practice. This is not only to meet requirements of medical insurance providers; but also to act as a precaution for health care. Family doctors receive training in both primary and preventative care, meaning they are able to advise on both the presenting condition and any prevention of problems to help overcome future health issues. This type of care can be highly beneficial in helping you remain healthy as long as possible, potentially reducing the cost of health care.
4. Testimonials and Basic Information
Locating the ideal family doctor can be a very complicated and challenging task, despite the seemingly simplistic nature. When searching for a family doctor, it is recommended that you begin the search by contacting family and friends to ask for referrals. Once referrals have been obtained, it would be useful to do some research before registering with the doctor looking at testimonials of service, working hours, system of payment accepted, and if the practice operates with specialists. It is important to remember that not all family medicine practices are able to register new patients; therefore, it is necessary to have several options at hand.
5. Comfort With the Doctor
Good family doctors should be able to answer medical questions easily and in a manner that makes it simple to understand. The physician should be able to make you feel comfortable in the doctor-patient relationship and must be patient enough to answer all questions, even if you are repeating yourself. If there is a feeling of discomfort during the initial consultation, it would be best to trust your instinct and seek out a different family doctor.
6. The Doctor’s Age
One factor that many people do not take into account when searching for a medical doctor is the issue of the doctor’s age. The majority of people consider older physician’s to be the more professional and acceptable option; however, this is not always true and there are instances where a younger professional would be more suitable if available. The rule of thumb is that the doctor should be one generation above the patient. This ensures the professional has the correct knowledge and is aware of the culture of the patient.
Final Words on the Matter
Finding a doctor is essential to maintain one’s health, and finding a family doctor will be highly beneficial for the family’s overall health. By using the information above you can make an informed decision on how to find the ideal family doctor for your family’s needs.