Visiting a new primary care doctor can be a stressful experience for some individuals. After visiting your previous doctor for so long, you might have already become accustomed to the atmosphere and familiar faces. When you switch to a new physician, you must learn about the various policies and how the clinic functions. You might not know what to ask or even where to begin. Fortunately, we have compiled a list of six questions to ask your new doctor to make the transition a lot easier.
1. What are your credentials?
If you have been referred to the provider by your health insurance carrier or even a friend, it is important to verify that your new doctor is credentialed. If your physician is board-certified, it means that he/she is reputable with years of experience. Many physicians tend to display their certifications and awards in their clinics. By glancing at them, you can gain a general idea of how long your new doctor has studied and what he/she has accomplished over the years.
2. What services do you provide?
Depending on how accessible transportation is, you might want to consider asking your physician about the services provided by the clinic. Some clinics may offer general check-ups and have lab works done off-site at another facility. If you cannot travel between facilities, it is important to mention that to your provider so that he/she may recommend another clinic. Fortunately, plenty of clinics offer various services, such as check-ups, lab work, and pediatric or female exams on-site.
3. Does your clinic or practice have a website?
Your physician may not be available at every instant to answer any questions you may have. Most clinics have created websites that list their services, credentials, health insurance information, and more. The clinic’s website is a great place to access vital patient information when you are not able to speak to your provider.
4. How accessible is your office?
Almost all clinics function using a specific scheduling system. Some clinics may block out a few appointments each day to cater for patients with emergencies or issues that require immediate medical attention. If your clinic seems to be busy on a frequent basis, this should give you an idea of how quickly you will be seen for an appointment.
5. What health insurance carriers do you accept?
A common concern, some clinics are specific in the health insurance carriers that they accept. If you were referred to the physician by your insurance, your carrier will definitely be accepted. Most clinics tend to accept major health insurance carriers; however, it cannot hurt to inquire prior to your appointment. Simply speak with your clinic’s insurance specialist and discuss any payment options before attending your first appointment.
6. How long are patient wait times?
In a busy society, it is almost guaranteed that we all have busy lives. The last thing anyone would want is to wait for hours at a clinic before finally being seen by a doctor. Be sure to inquire about your clinic’s check-in process. Some clinics might offer walk-ins, but those with appointments typically experience shorter waiting times.
There are several factors that can result in a long waiting time, including the number of doctors available, the length of each visit, and the number of patients. The best thing you can do to ensure you will experience a short waiting time is to call the clinic the day before and confirm your appointment.
Do not be afraid to ask questions to your new doctor. Your provider is there to ensure that you are in great health and assist with whatever issues you may have.