The Doctor Decision
Your main doctor is the coordinator of your general care; the quarterback of your medical team. Often called a primary care physician – or PCP – your doctor should be someone you trust, like and feel comfortable with.
If you’re looking for a new PCP – or looking to change the one you have – you might not know how to find a good match out of the many options available to you.
When you have Brown & Toland as your medical group, you can start by visiting the “Find a Doctor” section of our website. You’ll find the names and biographical details of all of the clinicians affiliated with Brown & Toland Physicians and the Alta Bates Medical Group.
Most health insurance companies include network listings on their websites, so that’s another place to start.
Create a short list of candidates by considering these factors:
Gender. This is an easy and obvious way to narrow down your options. If you feel strongly about seeing a male versus a female provider (which not everybody does), start your search using this filter.
Location. House calls are a thing of the past. Since you will always go to see your doctor, it makes sense to find one whose office is convenient to where you live or work. That way, your visits – whether they’re scheduled or same-day appointments – will be easier to fit into your routine.
Specialty. While PCPs are generalists by definition, many also offer additional expertise in certain areas of medicine. If you’re looking for a doctor with a clinical interest or supplemental training in a particular disease category, review each candidate’s background details on his or her bio.
Language. Don’t let anything hinder your ability to communicate clearly and thoroughly with your PCP. Find a doctor who is fluent in the language you’re most comfortable speaking.
Insurance. Before making any appointments to see a new doctor, make sure the practice takes your health insurance. You can confirm this information by asking the doctor’s office when you call.
Recommendations. Sometimes, the most valuable information comes straight from friends and family. Ask people you trust for names of doctors they would recommend. Anecdotal referrals can be extremely powerful, whether they’re positive or negative.
Once you’ve selected a PCP and had your first visit, ask yourself these questions to make sure you’ve found the best match:
What is the practice personality? Is there a positive “vibe” in the office? Are staff members responsive and communicative? Are you made to feel welcome?
How is the physician’s bedside manner? Does the doctor put you at ease? Do you feel comfortable asking questions about your health? Are you treated with respect and discretion?
Is it easy to communicate? Are all of your health-related questions answered during your visits? If not, are you given resources or instructions on how to find the information you need after you leave? Does the practice have a system that allows for follow-up communication?
Remember – you always have a choice of which physician(s) to see. So find a PCP with whom you want to create a lasting professional relationship. Once you do, you and your doctor will make a great team.