Everything to Consider When Choosing a Family Doctor in Wilmington
Choosing a family doctor is such an important decision. Your family doctor is your go-to resource for your family’s healthcare needs.
They are there to treat you, advise you, educate you, and so much more. Your family doctor monitors your health and helps you make important decisions regarding your family’s wellbeing.
You want to be confident in your doctor’s abilities, and you want a doctor who will partner with you for years to come. If you’re looking for primary care physician in Wilmington, here are a few things to consider.
Start With Availability
Before you make an appointment, be sure the doctor is accepting new patients and what the current wait-time is to get a new patient appointment.
If you have health insurance, be sure that the practice is in-network and participates with your healthcare coverage. You want a great doctor, but there’s no reason to pay more than you have to for the same level of care. Your insurance carrier should be able to provide a list of in-network doctors to choose from.
If you do not have insurance, ask about self-pay options. Some practices can charge you directly for appointments or procedures, but prices vary widely, so be sure to ask what the costs are in advance.
Other practices, like ours, offer care using a monthly membership, which covers all of your visits and gives you comprehensive primary care for a flat monthly amount. This model of care can be a more affordable option for all of your primary care needs, and allows your family doctor to provide care no matter your insurance status.
When your health is at stake, experience matters. Your primary care doctor should have plenty of experience in their field.
You want to ensure they have the necessary training and skills to care for your family. Do your research to find out where your doctor attended medical school and where they have practiced before.
Note the types of certifications or specialties they have in the medical field. Check to see if they have had any disciplinary actions or malpractice claims against them.
You can research much of this information on Healthgrades.com and state websites.
Hours of Service and Location
It’s important to choose a family doctor near where you live. You don’t want to have to change your family’s schedule or take a day off of work to see your primary care doctor.
If it’s a challenge to go to the doctor, you’re more likely to skip appointments you should keep. Consider your schedule and find direct primary care that fits with your lifestyle.
The doctor should have availability for new patients, and it shouldn’t take days or weeks to be seen. Ask whether the practice provides convenient ways to reach the doctor such as an electronic portal or after-hours consultations.
Above all, make sure your doctor doesn’t rush you in and out, and instead, takes the time to give you and your family quality care.
As you look for family care in Wilmington, consider the needs of your family. If someone requires specialized care, make sure there’s a doctor who can provide it.
Some family doctors are able to provide specialized care to some extent. If your family member requires more specific care, you may need a referral to a specialist.
Most family care doctors can provide a referral from a network of trusted specialists in your area.
Ask for Recommendations
Getting a recommendation from a family member, friend, or co-worker is always a good idea. Ask them which doctor they see in your area and if they would recommend this particular doctor.
This can offer insight into the doctor’s family practice. Find out if the doctor is accessible, if the staff is friendly, and how long the wait time is.
Ask if they have experience with other doctors within the practice. Choosing a primary care physician is a major decision that affects your entire family, so it doesn’t hurt to get recommendations from those you trust.
Read Online Reviews
Reading what other patients have to say about a doctor is very telling. Reviews can provide insight into how the doctor operates their practice.
People typically convey their experience with wait times, office staff, scheduling appointments, staff friendliness, and more. If a patient is either very pleased or very disappointed in their experience with a doctor, they’re more likely to share it.
Don’t base your decision on one poor review. But if there’s a pattern of negative reviews, you may want to look elsewhere for family care in Wilmington.
Procedures and Services
It’s a good idea to know where certain procedures like lab work, x-rays, routine screenings, or minor surgeries will take place. You’ll want to know if these services take place within the clinic or if you’ll have to visit another location.
Many family doctors can perform these services in-office. If not, you’ll need to know if the other facility is easily accessible for you.
It can be inconvenient to drive across town for a simple test. Try to find an arrangement that’s favorable to your location and schedule.
It’s extremely frustrating to be sick or have a sick child and not be able to get in to see your physician. Find out the general wait time you should expect for an acute/urgent care appointment.
Telemedicine has become a popular option for many people. Many family doctors are now offering this service. Ask whether virtual appointments through telemedicine are an option. Find out what online services the doctor offers for your convenience.
Friendly and Professional Staff
If multiple people in your family will be seeing the doctor, you’ll be engaging with the office staff regularly.
The office staff also handle many things, including scheduling appointments, resolving billing matters, refilling prescriptions, general inquiries, and more.
It’s important that you feel staff are responsive, courteous and genuinely care about your well-being. They should answer questions and facilitate contact between you and your doctor as needed.
The Physical Environment of the Practice
When you visit the doctor, you want it to be a calm and pleasant experience. The appearance of the lobby and practice areas makes a difference.
The waiting room should be clean, relatively calm, and well-kept. The treatment rooms should be clean and private with modern medical equipment.
Everyone has to wait for their doctor from time to time, and it’s comforting to wait in a pleasant atmosphere.
Rapport With Your Doctor
It’s crucial to have a good relationship with your primary care doctor. You have to be able to trust them with all of your health concerns.
Effective communication is critical. If your physician doesn’t speak your primary language or you have physical impairments that make communication more difficult, ask if they have the ability to make accomodations and/or provide interpretation services.
Other things to consider:
- What is your doctor’s style of communication
- Does the doctor listen to you and answer your questions
- Does the doctor explain things to you in a way you can understand
- Does the doctor make you feel rushed
- Are you comfortable talking to your doctor about sensitive issues
When you have a great relationship with your family medicine doctor, you can feel more comfortable sharing your concerns and being honest about your symptoms. And in turn, your physician is better equipped to take the best care of you.
Questions to Ask
If you want to know more about a doctor and the level of care they provide, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Some primary care practices even offer free consultations or meet-and-greet visits. This can help you decide if it’s the right fit before you officially establish care.
Some questions to ask include:
- How long have you been practicing medicine
- How much time do you spend with patients
- Do you take care of patients with my condition
- Will I see you each time or will I see another practitioner
- What is the best way to communicate with you
- Can I contact you after hours with a health concern
If your doctor is receptive to these questions, it’s a good sign. If you aren’t comfortable with the doctor, continue the search for the right doctor for you.
Finding a Family Doctor in Wilmington
Choosing the right doctor may take a little time and effort, but the benefits of having a family doctor you trust are well worth it. You deserve the best healthcare possible for you and your family.
It’s so important to have a doctor you can depend on and trust. You want a compassionate doctor who knows you and has your best interests at heart.
At Promina Health, our goal is to provide excellent patient care with a personal touch. If you’re searching for family care in Wilmington, we’d love to welcome you as a new patient.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment.