Family Doctors: Find Your Perfect Fit

There are many reasons you may need to find a family doctor. Perhaps you've moved to a new area, added a new member to your family, or simply need to find someone who can help you cope with those seasonal colds and other health problems that occasionally arise. As a physician who is trained to care for the whole person, regardless of age or gender, a family doctor is uniquely prepared to treat you and your family.

Family doctors supply a range of services, providing everything from routine checkups for prevention to diagnoses and treatment of common maladies. If you're in the market for a family doctor, read on for tips to help you find a caregiver who is both qualified and compatible.

1. The first step is to decide what you are looking for in a doctor. Family doctors often specialize in certain areas of medicine. If you are typically healthy, but you have small children who often deal with colds and other routine illnesses, you may want to select a doctor whose focus is pediatrics. Likewise, if you regularly deal with health issues, you may want a family doctor who specialized in internal medicine. 

2. Once you identify a few doctors who will be able to address you and your family's needs, get the other basic requirements out of the way. Unless you want to pay everything out of pocket, find out if they accept your medical insurance. Are the located within a suitable distance? Will their office hours work for you? Some offices have extended hours, making it easier for parents to schedule appointments outside of work and school hours. Others feature 24/7 phone service, where you can call in to talk to a medical professional. Decide what your preferences are and find a doctor that offers what you want.

3. With your pool of potential family doctors narrowed down, it's a good idea to research their qualifications. A simple online search can often tell you where a doctor went to medical school and completed his or her residency. Search results can also help you see if a doctor maintains a good online presence through a website or other platform. 

You can find out if a doctor is board certified, meaning they've completed extra training after medical school and passed a rigorous exam that allows them to specialize in one area of medicine. If you want to make sure your doctor has a clean record, you can call your local or state medical society to see if any complaints have been filed. 

4. The last step involves actually meeting with the doctor. A doctor may have all the training and certifications you want, but if your personalities don't mesh, it can make going to the doctor a trial. When you meet with your family doctor in person, make sure you are comfortable talking to him or her. If it's important to you that you don't feel rushed, make sure you have time to ask all your questions and feel like your doctor takes the time you need to understand and fully answer all your questions.

Remember, it can take some time to build a doctor-patient relationship, but if you take the time upfront to find a professional you feel good about, it can make those necessary trips to the doctor much more rewarding. (For more information on a family doctor, contact one such as Thiele Kim DO PC)