Family doctors are doctors who take care of the whole family – from infants to young children and adults. 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. “Our clinic is known for having a unique comfort quality,” said Dr. Robert C. Blackwood, MD of Blackwood Family Medicine. “We strive to find and fix all the needs of our patients.” We all need this kind of care.
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 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.