7 Tips for Finding a New Doctor When You Move
It is important to choose new doctors when you move so you know who to call when the need arises. Follow these tips to choose the right healthcare providers for you.
Every year over 40 million Americans move. If you’re among them, you’ve likely gone online to find the best local grocery stores, restaurants and dry cleaners—but what about a new doctor? Your move-in to-do list may already feel a mile long, but it’s worth taking time to research providers in your new area. That way, you can be prepared to get the best care for a health emergency, chronic condition, or even just a simple check-up. As you plan your move, try these tips to find a new team of doctors who will make you feel right at home.
Looking up doctors in a new city probably isn't your first priority when you're busy trying to pack, but it's smart to start researching healthcare providers before you move. Consider asking your current doctor if they might have a connection in your new city through medical school or a fellowship program. After you have a name or two, you can look up patient satisfaction scores on Healthgrades.com while figuring out if the doctor is close to your new home.
Now that you have a chance to start fresh, do you want a general practitioner who can see your entire family, or a pediatrician for your children and an Ob/Gyn for yourself? A PA, a DO or an MD? Be aware of the options and stay flexible. While you might start out looking for a pediatrician, a board-certified family doctor with fantastic reviews and an interest in childhood asthma might be just the right fit. Healthgrades allows you to search by specialty so you can find the right care team for you and your family.
Many people make the mistake of only looking at information about doctors. Even if you’re young and healthy, it’s important to research the hospitals at which your doctor can treat you if you become ill. Picking a highly rated doctor who is only affiliated with a low-rated hospital might not be the best choice. Healthgrades physician profiles include not only patient reviews, but also hospital experience ratings and quality awards for their affiliated hospitals. You can also use Healthgrades America's Best Hospitals award list to find the highest quality hospital in your area and choose a doctor who practices there.
It’s valuable to see what past patients say about their doctors, but experience and education speak for themselves. Healthgrades physician profiles enable you to view a doctor's treatment frequency for specific conditions and procedures relative to their peers. This information can help you pick a doctor with the experience you need. If you’re undergoing a certain procedure, studies show you’re more likely to have a better outcome with a doctor who performs that procedure more often than other doctors.
If you have diabetes or another chronic illness, does the doctor’s office also have an available nutritionist to help with your care? Will a nurse quickly respond to your medical questions via phone? Find out the policies. Do they track patient outcomes for people with health histories like yours?
If you’re changing jobs, you might also have a new health insurance carrier. Be sure to check on your new coverage, including co-pays, deductibles and specialist referral requirements. Before you contact the doctor you’re interested in for an appointment, check to make sure the provider is in your insurance network. As you weigh your options, use Healthgrades to see which doctors are in and out of your network. Once you're ready to make an appointment, reach out to the doctor's office to confirm their coverage so you're aware of the costs upfront. Then check to see if your new doctor’s office is available via email or if they have overnight or after-hours phone care. Do they have easily accessible same-day visits, or is your specialist so popular you can’t get an appointment for four months?
It’s smart to make an appointment as soon as you’ve narrowed down your choice so you can get to know the doctor personally before you commit. If you’re moving with kids during the summer, a school or sports physical may be a good opportunity to introduce your family to the doctor and the office staff. Always remember to ask a lot of questions.
Taking an active role in your health can help lead to better care and Healthgrades is here to help—in whatever neighborhood you call home.