Three Things to Consider When Choosing a New Doctor
Choosing a new doctor doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process, but there are important things to consider. With more and more people in need of consistent healthcare, having a checklist is helpful during the search process.
“We are seeing an abundance of new patients, especially since the pandemic,” said Avinash Viswanathan, MD (Dr. Avi), with Memorial Physician Services. “Many people want to select a doctor because everything was so restricted for a time during the height of COVID-19. Also we have a big group of the adult population heading to retirement age, and their evolving needs require healthcare consistency.”
He suggest three general areas with specific questions to consider when researching and choosing a new primary care provider:
- Availability. What kind of wait is involved for regular appointments? Does the provider offer same-day sick appointments or do you have to go to an urgent care facility? What are the telehealth options?
- Areas of emphasis. Is there an area of interest or a disease process the provider is comfortable handling? How comfortable is the provider in handling a diversified range of health issues?
- Good fit. Is there a positive connection? Also, consider longevity. How long will the provider be at that location? Is retirement or a transfer in the near future? That may be a factor if you prefer a provider who will be available for the next 10 to 20 years or longer.
Once you choose a new provider, Dr. Avi recommends transferring at least a year’s worth of medical records over before the first appointment. Plan to bring a list of all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) with you. Ask how long lab results and callbacks take on average.
“From a doctor’s perspective, we want to establish good communication at that first visit,” said Dr. Avi. “The patient will want to know how long things will take, what services are available, how our nursing staff operates, sick call process. We answer those questions and establish a strong foundation for future visits so that the patient settles in and has confidence in their healthcare.”
Do you need a primary care physician? Physician groups at Memorial Health System are now accepting new patients.