Find a provider that’s right for you – it’s more than just making an appointment

provider comforting patient UofL Health

Has your doctor retired or have you recently relocated? Perhaps your insurance changed, or you simply haven’t yet carved out the time to make an appointment to treat what’s ailing you. Whether you are looking for primary care or a specialist, it’s important you find the right provider who can be a part of your health care team. The following tips can help make that search easier.

  1. Ask a friend. Getting a recommendation from a friend is a great first step. Your friends will have some idea of your likes and dislikes, as well as your wants and needs.
  2. Talk to your current physician. If you are moving, your physician may know other doctors, reputable hospital systems or physician groups in your new location. If your doctor is retiring, they may already have someone in mind to recommend.
  3. Contact your insurance company. Whatever physician you choose, more than likely you’ll want to make sure they accept your insurance. Your insurance company will have a list of physicians who are “in-network”. They may even have reviews of the doctors they recommend to help you narrow down your decision.
  4. Question your new provider and office staff. Before making your health care appointment, contact your new physician office. Feel free to ask the office staff questions that are important to you and your care.
  5. Share your philosophy on health and ask about your provider’s. Openness and honesty are essential to a patient-provider relationship. Help your provider know what is important to you, and make sure they are someone you can see yourself working with.

As you search for a new health care professional, it’s important to know what you are looking for in a new physician. Do you want access to a patient portal? A warm and friendly office? Someone with extended office hours? Is your new physician board certified? Knowing what’s important to you will help you to narrow down your choices.

Remember, you are your best health care advocate. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your homework. And if you feel like your new provider isn’t a good fit for you, keep looking.


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M. Eli Pendleton, M.D.

Dr. Eli Pendleton is an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine. He serves as medical director for the ULP Family Medicine Newburg clinic site, and is associate program director for the Family Medicine Residency Program. He received his medical degree from University of Kentucky, and did his residency training at University of Virginia. Areas of interest include Evidence-Based Medicine and Information Mastery, resident education, and LGBT health needs.

All posts by M. Eli Pendleton, M.D.