7 tips to find your dream doctor or dentist

7 tips to find your dream doctor or dentist

If you're looking for a new primary care health provider or dentist, and you want them to be the best, here are seven tips to help you decide:

1. Check Angie's List

Word of mouth is good place to start when reviewing potential providers. On Angie’s List, find health care providers who get good reviews from members like you.

2. Decide what’s important

Everyone’s needs are different when choosing a health care provider, so focus on the areas to find the best provider for you. Some of those factors may include proximity to your home, accessible hours, and the experience of the staff and doctors.

3. Are you covered?

Insurance can help offset treatment costs, but be sure to make sure the provider you choose is part of your insurance network.

4. Estimate cost

With high deductible health insurance plans increasing, more consumers are paying out of pocket. Get an estimate from your health care provider’s office manager for a specific procedure and then compare that by calling other providers in your area. Also check out Healthcare Blue Book, a free online guide that lists fair prices for health care.

5. Do background checks

Use the Internet to check out potential doctors and dentists. Make sure your provider’s license and whether they have any malpractice or disciplinary actions on their record by visiting your state’s medical licensing board. If board certification is important to you, visit the American Board of Medical Specialties website.

6. Call first

After you’ve done your research, call the office and ask questions that are important to you: How long does it take to get a routine appointment? What’s the average wait time during visits? Can you give advice over the phone or by e-mail?

7. Schedule a consultation

If the office manager answers your questions in a way that meets your expectations, set up an initial consultation with the doctor or dentist. This is where you can establish personality match and practice fit. A good doctor should be open to questions and keen to communicate so ask questions that matter to you.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on June 10, 2013.

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