How To Choose A Doctor

african american smiling male doctor Choosing a primary care provider can be a confusing exercise, but it’s very important to feel that you are receiving care from someone with whom you can feel a certain level of comfort and trust. With some research and a modicum of effort, you can find a primary care provider that can serve your needs well for years to come.

Insurance

When considering finding a doctor or other provider, most people probably think first of the limitations that will be imposed by their insurance. Most insurance companies have very long lists of providers within their networks. These are generally listed by specialty, geographic area, and other helpful parameters.

MD, PA or NP?

In these days of broader choices, you are not limited to only being seen by a medical doctor. Nurse Practitioners (Masters-prepared nurses who can prescribe treatments and medications but are supervised by a doctor) and Physician Assistants (Masters-prepared “mid-level” providers with equal prescribing and diagnostic powers of Nurse Practitioners) can also serve as primary care providers under the rules of many insurance companies. While an MD may be preferable to some individuals, others might be more comfortable, for instance, with the nurse-based training and approach of a Nurse Practitioner. (And as of 2014, NPs will be required to earn a PhD, and will then confusingly be referred to as “Doctors of Nursing Practice”, or a DNP.)