How to Establish Care with a New Doctor

Whether you have to switch doctors or you simply need to find a family doctor in your area, establishing care is an essential part of building a solid patient-physician relationship. There are some things you may want to do to help make your first visit to the doctor as productive as possible.

Discuss the Reason for Your Appointment

When setting up an appointment, you'll want to tell the receptionist the reason for the visit. You may simply need to set up an appointment to establish care, or you may need to also seek treatment for a condition during this first visit. Letting the receptionist know exactly what you need will help ensure you have enough time with your new family doctor to address all concerns. If you also need to have a physical performed, be sure to disclose this when setting the appointment. The doctor may ask that you have blood work or other labs performed before the appointment.

Gather Your Medical Records

Your medical records are essential for helping your new doctor establish a baseline for any medical conditions you have. Ask your former doctor's office to fax over your medical records directly to the new physician's office. You can also pick up the records and hand-deliver them if you prefer. Your medical records should include those from your former family doctor as well as any specialists you may be currently seeing.

Fill Out the New Patient Packet

Ask the receptionist if there is an online version of the new patient packet you can fill out ahead of time. Doing this online means you won't have to spend extra time in the waiting room filling out forms before your visit. If there is no online patient portal to use, be sure to arrive at your doctor's office early. You'll need this extra time to make sure all your forms are complete. You'll also want to give the office your insurance information ahead of time so coverage can be confirmed. This step is often done when you schedule your appointment.

Offer Full Disclosure

Your new doctor needs to have the most accurate information available to provide treatment and care. It's important to be as forthcoming as possible during your appointment to establish care. This means being honest about any bad habits you may have, including smoking and drinking. Without this essential information, the doctor may have difficulty finding the proper diagnosis for any future health problems you develop.

If you're ready to set up care, start contacting local doctor's offices, such as Vidant Health. By comparing different doctors, you can be sure that you're making a choice that will work for you.