The number of medical professionals and clinics in your local area can seem overwhelming, even if your choices are limited by your insurance. But choosing the right provider for your needs can be the key to receiving high-quality care at a price you can afford. So, what is the best way to figure out which options are best for you? By shopping around online!
A wide variety of websites provide patients with important information about medical providers. Whether you are interesting in finding a top notch place to manage your bloodwork, like True Health Diagnostics, or need a specialist for a rare health condition, you can get the information you need without having to set foot in a clinic.
To help you decide where to look, follow these tips.
Your medical insurance provider often has search features to help locate medical professionals who are part of your network. You can search by specialty, location, or both. This helps you determine a good starting point for further research or, in some cases, can supply additional information to help with the decision-making process.
For example, some major insurance providers allow members to leave ratings and reviews regarding their experiences with a particular doctor, clinic, or other provider. This can give you a firsthand account of what one patient’s experience was like. Additionally, some insurance websites require reviews only be left by individuals who have been billed for services (through their insurance coverage) from that particular provider. This helps ensure that reviews are left by either the patient themselves or a suitable guardian. However, it is important to note that a single review is only a snapshot, and might not be suitable as a sole point of consideration.
Most medical professionals, clinics, and hospitals maintain their own websites. These make great first steps to help familiarize you with the services that are offered at a particular location. For example, some general practitioners run small clinics designed to help patients address emergent issues, and may have certain diagnostic facilities, like labs and x-rays, available onsite, as well as same day appointments. If your primary focus is to select a provider for common illnesses and injuries, that type of facility may be ideal.
In contrast, a doctor listed as a general practitioner on your insurance company’s website may actually provide specialized services, making them less ideal for general illness or injury care. While insurance websites are updated regularly, not all information is completely up-to-date at all times, especially if the medical provider just recently made a change.
Websites like HealthGrades act as portals where patients can review their experiences with a wide variety of medical professionals. Ratings are based on a standard five-star system, making the information very easy to interpret. Additionally, the areas covered in the review are standardized to help improve the ease of completing a cross-comparison on the site.
Since these sites can be accessed by anyone, regardless of their current insurance coverage, it often leads to more reviews being provided than more limited sites. However, there is no way to confirm that those who left a review actually received services at that location, so they should be used in conjunction with other informational sources.
After reviewing these sources, you should have a suitable amount of information with which to make a decision. However, just because you choose one provider today, that doesn’t mean you can’t change to someone else in the future. Your options are always open, so feel free to move on if a provider doesn’t meet your needs.