A compatible medical practitioner is one of the most important relationships you will cultivate throughout your life. Though, hopefully, you won’t see him or her very often, when you do, you want to be able to communicate and understand one another, as well as share medical philosophies. It’s funny though; while many of us take the time to shop for a car or a sofa, few of us really shop around for a doctor, the one who partners with us to achieve our best health and well being. As I am always saying, be proactive; you wouldn’t buy the first car you test drive if it isn’t what you want, why settle for a doctor?
Many instances arise where we need to seek a new medical practitioner; maybe we move to a new area, perhaps our insurance changes, or we have a new ailment we need to see a specialist for, like allergies. Follow these tips and hopefully you will end your search with just the right doctor for you.
• Ask friends, coworkers, neighbors who they use, as long as you agree with their medical philosophies. You can find out good information from your source, such as location, atmosphere, practice philosophy, etc. Use your sources!
• Use your insurance company for a reference. Most insurance companies have lists they can send you or on their websites of doctors in your area covered by them. If you are looking for a holistic practitioner, they usually are not covered by insurance.
• Ask your GP/internist/pediatrician to refer you to allergist that they are familiar with. Usually general offices have lists of specialists and many like to generate feedback that they use in recommendations.
• You can use websites like http://www.aaaai.org/physref/ and www.naet.com to find allergists and NAET practitioners, and you can also use the web to find out their credentials and certifications.
Once you have narrowed down a few options, make some phone calls or preliminary visits. You need to ask questions to make sure they are right for you. You can wait until your first visit, but a little investigation upfront may save you some time (and peace of mind) later.
• First, make sure they are accepting new patients. Find out how long you have to wait for an appointment, and make sure they take your insurance if that is a factor for you.
• Ask their philosophies, do they usually recommend allergy shots, do they have a support network for your specific allergy, is there a nurse line you can call with questions? Ask whatever is important to you.
• If it is a food allergy you are dealing with, do they offer nutritional advice/ is there a nutritionist on staff?
• Are they kid friendly? Our first experience with an allergist was not; he terrified my daughter with stories of kids having severe allergic food reactions. A pediatric allergist is your best bet for taking kids to, but if you are going to a larger practice that isn’t specialized for children, ask for a doctor who works well with kids.
• Don’t forget about the alternative practitioners. There are great ones who practice NAET and other noninvasive methods and also teach a healthy lifestyle.
Remember, you’re not committed to a doctor even after you see them. You can switch if you’re not happy or comfortable. You are the customer here, they are working for you and you need to feel confident that you are getting the best treatment, for you or your child specifically, that you can get. Best of luck!
– Heather Legg