Visiting a new doctor for the first time is kind of like going on a first date- there are so many questions and uncertainties going through your mind. Will we be a good match? Will they listen to me and understand my needs? Will I say the right things?
In reality visiting a new doctor doesn’t have to be scary because you can prepare in ways you really can’t for that stranger you may meet on a date. How? By knowing the right questions to ask and voicing them.
Here’s a list of some important questions to ask before you get to the doctor’s office and questions to ask once you get there.
Questions to ask before you get to the office:
- How much time does the doctor spend with patients, on average?
- Which local hospitals is the doctor afﬁliated?
- Does my insurance company provide coverage for this doctor and will I need a referral?
- Does the doctor have an afﬁliation with any urgent care facilities?
- Does the doctor have more than one ofﬁce location?
- How does the doctor provide coverage when he/she is on vacation or off duty?
- Which specialists does the doctor work closely and for which conditions?
- What procedures does the doctor perform?
Questions to ask at the doctor:
- Who do I speak with about scheduling appointments and how much time do I need to give before making an appointment? Are same-day appointments available if I need to be seen right away?
- How long will the doctor keep me on a medication before switching to another if I have side effects or it isn’t working?
- What is the doctor’s philosophy about natural remedies?
- Does the doctor have a relationship with a pharmacist in town? How does he/she work with that pharmacist?
- How often do I have to follow-up with the doctor?
- How do I maintain prescription reﬁlls? Can I simply call for authorization, or do I have to come in for a visit?
- Does the doctor want me to follow up with him/her after any hospital procedures or emergency room visits?
- Will he/she be available for treatment should I be admitted to the hospital or emergency room?