[Video] Top Questions To Ask Your New Primary Care Doctor
There are many reasons why you may start looking for a new primary care doctor. The reasons vary, but can include one or more of these:
- You and your family are moving to a new city
- There are changes to your insurance
- Lifestyle changes
- You and your current doctor just don't 'click'
Regardless of why, there are a few things you need to ask your new primary care doctor to make sure you are a good fit for each other.
Here's a video we put together where we cover the top questions to ask your new primary care doctor.
Dr. Noorani: This is Dr. Noorani...
Tabrez Noorani, PA: and I'm Tabrez Noorani.
Dr. Noorani: In this video we want to answer a few common questions you should be asking about your new medical provider.
1. Ask for your doctor's credentials [:08 sec]
First, you want to make sure your provider is credentialed. Board certification matters and being board certified means that you've had years of experience, an additional level
of training and continuing education over the course of the years in practice.
Your provider's experience also matters - how many years they've been experienced, practiced and where they've practiced and where their training comes from.
I am a board-certified family medicine and palliative medicine physician. I did my residency in Norristown, Pennsylvania in a community-based family medicine program, very similar to the community we practice in.
I have been in practice for 15 years...
Tabrez: I'm also both certified PA. I did my medical school in India and my PA schooling in Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago. I do have about 15 years of experience in primary care.
2. Is the doctor's office readily accessible? [1 min:09 sec]
Dr. Noorani: The next question you should be asking is how busy is your doctor's office.
Tabrez: Well, I think a better question is how accessible is your medical provider
rather than how busy the office is.
Dr. Noorani: So in our our practice, what we do is we block out about 15 to 20 appointments every day and have them available for people calling in for urgent visits or same day appointments so we don't overbook those slots.
You want to make sure that your doctor's office can be reached and you can be seen in a more urgent matter if you have that need.
3. What services does your medical provider offer? [1 min:43 sec]
Tabrez: Another important question is to find out what are the services your doctor's office provides.
Dr. Noorani: So in our office we do, in addition to a comprehensive history and physical exam, we have additional services we provide for our patients.
One important service that we offer is on-site lab draws.
Tabrez: I think having an on-site lab draw is very convenient for the patient, they don't have to go wait at an outside Quest or LabCorp.
They just come in for a visit, they get the blood drawn and when they follow up they have the results available for the patient.
Dr. Noorani: In addition to the lab draw services, we also do EKG's, lung function tests, minor office procedures or you know skin tag removals things like that in the office.
So it allows patients to not have to go to multiple offices to get services.
We also have two of our providers who do female exams so that allows for patients to be able to come to one office and get all their medical services in one place.
4. What health insurance carriers do they accept? [2 min:49 sec]
Tabrez: Another common question we get asked is what insurance does the doctor's office accept.
Dr. Noorani: We actually take most of the major health insurance carriers. We have an insurance specialist who gets your insurance information before your visit, contacts your insurance and finds out the details of your plan, your co-pay, your deductible that you may be responsible for on the day of the visit.
Many plans have an annual physical benefit that is covered at 100% so it would mean no out-of-pocket cost for you.
The other thing is that you want to make sure that your doctor's office also offers you a self-pay option.
Many offices don't accept patients who don't have insurance, so if it ever comes to a point where you lose your insurance you shouldn't have to lose your doctor's office because you lost your insurance.
We do offer some competitive self-pay pricing.
Tabrez: In our case, we do offer transparent and competitive self-pay pricing, which is available on our website.
Which leads to the second question...
5. Does your doctor have a website? [4 min:06 sec]
Does your doctor's office have a website?
The website is very important for a medical office because it provides information for the patient, it provides information on what insurances the doctor accepts, what services they offer...
it also also provides a bio on the doctors and providers, in terms of credentialing and med school and experience.
So i think having a good website is also important for the medical practice too.
6. What scheduling options are there for new and existing patients? [4 min:32 sec]
Dr. Noorani: So another thing that you want to find out about your doctor's office is what is their process on scheduling new patients and existing patients.
Tabrez: Well, most of the time if...it all depends...there's two parts to this.
So if there's an urgent visit, what we do is we try to lock some slots for sick patients who need to be seen on the same day or within 24 hours to be seen.
If it's a physical or annual physical, we allot a longer time for us to see the patients so that takes a little bit longer to be seen, so may take a few days to maybe a week to be seen in the office as a new patient physical.
But this one urgent visit is generally within the same day or within 24 hours of calling.
7. What are patient wait times like? [5 min: 16 sec]
Dr. Noorani: So the other thing that you'll probably want to know is when you are actually at the office, how long will you wait for your appointment?
What is the process of check-in, bringing you back to get you ready for you to be seen by your provider.
Tabrez: I think that's a little bit of a harder question to answer because most of the time, we try staying on schedule...it's trying to try to see patients as their scheduled but being in the medical field, sometimes a patient can take a little bit longer and that does push us back - that's because we're not rushing through the patient.
We try to spend as much time with the patient, answering as many or all the questions, so the patient doesn't feel rushed and we are doing the right thing by providing the
right service for the patient and that does sometimes push the schedule off by a few minutes but i think that is something which we are willing to accept as long as we're providing good care for the patient.
Dr. Noorani: So in efforts to keep on time and on schedule, we never double book any appointment slots and we anticipate that you know there may be gaps in the schedule that would allow us to catch up if we did have to spend a little extra time with some of the patients.
We also have breaks throughout the day to be able to catch up on, you know, messages and documents and things that might be coming in for patients.
Dr. Noorani: I hope this video was helpful in answering some questions you should be asking when you're looking for a new doctor's office.
Tabrez: And we'll be back soon with more videos on some of the common questions which we get asked from our patients.