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What to Look for in a Doctor to Ensure Patient Safety

September 12, 2020 Pegalis Law Group
Portrait of a group of medical practitioners standing together in a hospital

Whether you’ve moved to a new neighborhood or started a job with different insurance benefits, selecting a new doctor can be challenging. Asking for recommendations from friends, family, and co-workers is an excellent jumping-off point. However, the decision is ultimately up to you and your values. In honor of International Patient Safety Day on September 17, 2020, our patient safety advocates at Pegalis Law Group, LLC offer some tips on what to look for when choosing a doctor.

Always Read the Fine Print in Your Healthcare Plan

Everyone needs a primary care physician to provide annual check-ups and more. Your insurance plan may have affiliated doctors offering financial incentives if you use them. Going to a provider that’s considered “out of network” may cost you more out-of-pocket every time you visit. Additionally, you should check your healthcare plan’s fine print concerning referrals to specialists and emergency care. Being aware of the associated costs of your healthcare is part of being a well-informed patient.

Call the Doctor’s Office to Get a Feel for Their Patient Care

First impressions matter, especially when choosing a new doctor. Try calling the doctor’s office. This will give you valuable insights into the way they treat their patients. When you ask if they’re accepting new patients, you can gauge a lot about them from their answer. If they care enough about fitting in a new patient in their already-busy schedule, they’re likely to make time for emergencies too. A phone call can tell you a lot, but an in-person visit will reveal even more. Always trust your gut. You need a doctor who takes time to answer questions and explains things in a way you understand. You should feel at ease about your healthcare. If a doctor doesn’t feel right to you, there are plenty more out there.

Check Their Board Certifications and Patient Reviews Online

You wouldn’t hire a plumber or roofer to make repairs without first checking their reviews. Why should picking your new doctor be any different? Doctors usually have patient testimonials on their websites. You can also search your insurance company’s network to see if they have ratings for specific providers. Additionally, many states have doctor profiles listed on line which lists their education as sometimes if they have been involved in lawsuits or been disciplined by the state’s department of health. Most doctors also have their credentials and certifications listed online. Board-certified doctors have been passed certain testing in their area of expertise giving them a higher level of knowledge. They’re also more likely to remain up-to-date on emerging developments and best practices in their field of expertise. Having a doctor with outdated ideas on medical treatments can be dangerous to your health and safety.

Location Matters – Choose a Doctor Suited to Your Medical Needs

Choosing a doctor close to where you live might not be the best idea if you have a health condition requiring special care.  You should look for a doctor affiliated with a major hospital.  The more complex your situation, the more you should consider seeing a doctor board certified in the specialized area of medicine that treats your condition. Everyone should have a primary care physician for regular bloodwork and minor illnesses, but serious conditions such as cardiac disease or kidney issues need specialized care.

Diligent Patient Safety Advocates for Nearly 50 Years

For nearly 50 years, Pegalis Law Group, LLC has represented clients in NYC and beyond with personal injury and medical negligence cases. Our firm remains a committed patient safety advocate, educating the public-at-large about ways to be more proactive patients. Please visit our website and follow us on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to learn more about being proactive about your healthcare.