5 useful tips to find the care you need and deserve
If you were to ask 100 people how important it is to find “Mr. or Ms. Right” most would likely say it’s very important. After all, who wants to build a relationship with someone who doesn’t share the same values, listen to you or care about your overall happiness and well-being?
In many ways, the qualities that make for a good soul mate are the same ones that make for a good physician. According to Christopher M. Smalley, M.D., Norton Community Medical Associates – Okolona, it’s important to find a primary care physician whose expertise, experience and demeanor allow you to feel comfortable having honest conversations with her or him.
“Your primary care physician should be someone you trust and rely on to manage your health care in a way that matches your values and needs,” Dr. Smalley said.
Your primary care physician and care team act as your medical home. This means you have a point person to handle all your care needs, from wellness visits and routine screenings to non-emergency illnesses, and coordination of your care, including referrals to specialists as needed.
If you’re looking for “Dr. Right,” the following five tips may help:
- Check your insurance
Many health insurance plans require you to see a primary care physician who is “in-network.” Use your insurer’s directory or website to search for in-network doctors. Doctors add or drop plans periodically, so it’s a good idea to check with the office to make sure your insurance is accepted.
- Consider hospital affiliation
Your choice of doctor can determine which hospital you go to if needed. So, find out where the doctor has admitting privileges.
- Look for board certification
Physicians achieve certification by earning a medical degree from a qualified medical school, completing three to seven years of residency training, being licensed by a state medical board and passing one or more accrediting exams. CertificationMatters.org is one source for checking certifications.
- Do some research
This can be informal (ask family and friends who they see) or more structured (look for physician rating reports). Healthgrades is one online site that rates doctors on a five-star system using patient feedback. Keep in mind one person’s opinions or experience may not give a full picture of a physician’s expertise.
- Factor in technology and convenience
Electronic health records help physicians track your medical history and medications, and share information with specialists. Many physicians and health systems use secure online technology to give you convenient 24-hour access to your health information. For example, MyNortonChart lets you book appointments, see test results, ask for prescription refills and even get care for minor, non-urgent medical issues via a Norton eCare video visit without leaving home or work.
Research suggests that people who have a strong relationship with a physician report greater satisfaction with their care and may even enjoy better health. This makes sense. Being able to communicate effectively with your doctor is a big part of getting the care and attention you need and deserve.
Most Norton Medical Group primary care offices are designated by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Homes. This highest level of recognition is based on a proven track record of continuous teamwork to improve care quality and efficiency. If you need a primary care provider, call (502) 629-1234 or consult our geographical listing of offices.
To learn more about the benefits of having a primary care medical home, watch this video with Stephen Roszell, M.D., Norton Community Medical Associates – Highlands, who calls it an honor to be a primary care physician.