You might be wondering: “Who’s the best primary care doctor near me?” While you probably have plenty of local options, it can be tricky to find a good match for your medical needs. Not all physicians are equally competent, trustworthy, or friendly. Use this checklist to find the best primary care doctor near you quickly and easily. You’ll also learn how to steer clear of untrustworthy or questionable health care providers.
Why is It Important to Find the Best Primary Care Doctor Near Me?Primary care physicians (PCPs), also called general practitioners, are responsible for detecting undiagnosed health issues in patients, as well as providing care for existing medical conditions. Like other doctors, primary care physicians complete medical school, then receive training after they graduate. Most primary care doctors are trained in family medicine, pediatrics, or internal medicine. But in some cases, gynecologists or other specialists offer primary care services. In addition to sick visits and annual check-ups, PCPs also offer patients other services. These services include education, health counseling, self-care tips, and preventive care. Because you’ll see your primary care physician more often than other doctors, choosing a PCP is a very important medical decision. They’re responsible for monitoring your health, diagnosing new medical problems, and referring you to specialists. That’s why you need a PCP who’s skilled, caring, easy to talk to, accessible, and affordable.
The Checklist: How to Find the Best Primary Care Doctor Near You
#1: Begin With an Online SearchYou can find almost anything on the internet, and primary care doctors are no exception. For your first step, use these search tools to figure out which PCPs are near you.
- Healthgrades is a popular free website that lists Family Medicine doctors and other primary care physicians, as well as specialists.
- Search Zocdoc by location and specialty (use Family Medicine or Internal Medicine to find a PCP). You can narrow results down by your insurance coverage, too.
- RateMDs is a searchable directory that offers reviews and ratings of physicians.
- MedlinePlus.gov offers a directory of services to help you locate a primary care physicians or specialist.
- Physician Compare is easy to use. It finds physicians who accept Medicare, but you don’t need to have Medicare to visit them.
#2: Ask Around, TooIf you aren’t having any luck with online searches, word of mouth works well, too. In fact, asking around may give you a better idea of the top primary care doctors near you. Websites may offer rankings and reviews, but your family, neighbors, and coworkers can back up their recommendation with years of experience.
#3: Check Their Record and EducationBy now, you should have a short or medium-long list of doctors. To narrow down your results, checking into the background and history of each primary care physician is an excellent idea. Medical errors, which include excessive care, unnecessary prescriptions, and improper treatments, cost over $17 billion per year in the United States. Going the extra mile and performing a background check provides you with peace of mind. It could also prevent costly and dangerous medical problems in the future. Here’s how you can check for medical education, credentials, disciplinary actions, malpractice claims, board certification, and more:
- AMA DoctorFinder tells you a doctor’s medical education and credentials.
- Use the DocFinder tool, Castle Connolly website, or DocInfo website to search for disciplinary actions.
- You can also contact your state medical board through the Federation of State Medical Boards website to request the above info.
- The CDC national directory of health departments and Medicare Hospital Compare tool let you know about actions against institutions and practices.
- Malpractice claims don’t always show up in other records, but you can perform an online search for your doctor’s name + malpractice to find more results.
- Certification Matters tells you whether a doctor is board-certified, which isn’t required but provides added assurance
- CMS Open Payments and ProPublica’s Dollars for Docs tell you how much money a physician receives from pharma companies.
- Prescriber Checkup by ProPublica can tell you if a doctor overprescribes certain meds.