In America, almost 90 percent of the population has a regular healthcare provider, which means that up to 294 million people seek out quality medical care annually. With over 1.1 million doctors of medicine in the US, the search for the right general practitioner (GP) can feel like a bit like finding a white cat in a snowstorm.
Thankfully, with the help of the internet’s advanced search capabilities, you won’t have to leave your bed to find the right person to assist you when you’re under the weather. If your screen is flashing faster than your tired eyes can manage, take a minute to relax. Snuggle into your comfiest sweats, put on that kettle, and make this read your last for the day.
Don’t settle, do search
There’s no shame in starting your research session with a visit to Google. Cram descriptive words into your search, such as your location and any specialties you’re searching for. Swap generalised statements such as “New Jersey doctor” with focused keywords like “Hunterdon radiology center” for a more specific find.
Most clinicians work from a central medical facility, which typically has a web presence you can interact with. The degree of detail offered on the specialities of each GP vary, of course, but it can be a great starting point to find a professional with a keen interest in a problem area that we may be struggling with. If your individual search method proves tiresome, the American Medical Association provides a medical search engine service that offers easily accessible listings of GPs in your area.
Remember to keep an eye out for important things like location, accessibility, languages spoken, accreditation, and billing standards. Keeping these in the back of your mind throughout the process will keep your visit short and sweet. And they’ll help you avoid any drawbacks that could deter you on arrival.
Read a range of reviews
Whether you’re looking for your new regular GP, or searching for the right place to treat a specific set of symptoms, the internet also provides a vibrant marketplace of review sites for medical practitioners across the US. Before your next trip abroad, you can just as easily access a range of travel health insurance reviews, as you can find the perfect GP for whatever the situation calls for.
Before you make your mind up on that doctor with an average rating, be sure to check out the number of reviews, and their quality. While overly-positive and robotic text can feel a bit suspicious, so too are powerfully negative reviews with a remarkable absence of facts. Check out how many reviews the contributor themselves has made, and always be mindful of the dreaded presence of internet trolls.
Keep your patience up
When you’re feeling unwell, it can be difficult to even work up the strength to head to the front door, let alone reach the doctor’s office. It’s important to be patient with yourself, and the process, even in trying times. The first doctor you visit might not be the best fit, and it’s perfectly reasonable to try again, at another practice, for your next visit.
Finding the right physician can mean establishing a truly important relationship for the future of your physical and mental wellbeing. Seeing a accomodating, well-educated, and thorough GP makes a real difference in catching potential issues at an early stage, monitoring your health outcomes, and maintaining lifelong health.