Finding a family doctor

How do I find a good family doctor?

Healthy but looking

Dear Healthy but looking,

You can check whether the practice is recognized for excellence.  There are several different organizations that accredit physician practices, such as NCQA.  The practice might also be part of a demonstration project for Patient Centered Medical Homes; this would be a sign that they are interested in new ways to serve patients effectively.  The practice’s website would have this information. 

If you have health insurance, your insurer’s directory of providers is another source of information.  The directory may have some quality data included, as well as whether the practice is accepting new patients.

However, a “good” doctor for you is one who will meet your needs and work well with your family.  Thus, a practice recognized for excellence could still be a bad fit for you.

Word of mouth is probably the most common method of choosing a family doctor.  One of your friends has a doctor she loves for her family.  Asking around is a good way to start on your search.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.