How to Choose a Doctor (in the U.S.)

By Paul Henry / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

Nurse. Scalpel. My God! It’s a request for a primary care physician! We’ll have to operate right away! [♪♩INTRO] A primary care physician is a doctor who you
see routinely for basic checkups, non-emergency illnesses and references to other specialists
in case of complications. There are a lot of reasons to choose a doctor
who you see regularly. You might have a recurring health issue, or
maybe your insurance plan requires you to select a primary care physician. It’s also just a good idea to choose a doctor
if you’re a living, breathing adult human. We also hope that you’ll get something out
of this video if you’re a non-adult or a dog or something. [♪♩DISCO MUSIC] Right. Here’s some steps to walk you through. First, consider any special health issues
you might need to take into account, especially if you have a chronic disease or a recurring
issue. Chances are that if you do, you already have
doctors that you see occasionally. Great! If not, all you need to do is a quick Google
search for a local primary care physician to get started. Check to see if the doctor or doctors you
already see are primary care physicians; you can either call their office or check their
website to see. Pro tip for people with uteruses: Oftentimes,
your gyno can serve as your primary doctor. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep on truckin’
with our cool list of steps. Check with your health insurance plan to find
out what doctors (or, as they will call them, care providers) are covered in-network. From there, you can narrow down your search
by location or any references you’ve gotten. Take into account the doctor’s hours and
office location. Consider whether you want to see a doctor
who runs their own small office or works for a larger company, such as a hospital or Planned
Parenthood clinic. A doctor who runs their own small practice
might offer more personal and specialized care, but they might not be able to offer
sliding-fee scale payment services or convenient office hours. Research on your doctor candidates. It can be hard to find many useful online
reviews for doctors. There’s no practical doctor “Yelp”,
because it turns out that doctors are much more likely to sue for a bad review than the
Chinese restaurant around the corner. No really, there’s a 2012 New York Times
article about it. So, there aren’t many truly helpful online
listings for MDs. But we do suggest checking the site Certification
Matters, where you can look to see how often a doctor renews their board certification. You can also type in “top doctors” followed
by the name of your city to get a place to start. Without the Internet, you’ll have to rely
on good old fashioned word of mouth. One of the best ways to find quality doctors
is to ask your friends and family who they recommend. Unless your friends and family are dogs, in
which case don’t listen to them. Those are veterinarians. Once you feel good about your research, select
a doctor, and double-check that they take your insurance. Notify your insurance company about who you
chose. Most insurance companies will let you do this
online pretty easily. Schedule your first appointment and go! It’s up to you to decide if you like your
doctor’s demeanor and would like to visit them again. Most insurance companies will also let you
change your primary care physician during the year. Consider whether the doctor was patient and
attentive, whether the staff were polite and whether the office followed up with you to
see how you’re doing or if you needed any follow-up care. Does your doctor keep super rad magazines
in their reception area? Even better. Who looks at magazines in the reception area
anymore. I’ve got Twitter right here—right—all
the terrible news I need. Looking for more information about the United
States’ Healthcare System? Well, Healthcare Triage is another channel
in the Complexly network and it is so good. We will leave a link in the description, as
well as in the endscreen. And if you would like to continue learning
about adulting with Rachel and me, subscribe to this channel at Nurse. Scalpel. I didn’t even put it in. I went right behind. Trying to get my own fingers. Nurse. Scalpel. My God! It’s a request for a c—primary careffff… [Laughter] Glad I don’t actually act for a living. [Laughter] A moist sha-moise.
[Laughter] But they might not be able to offer the sliding fee scale services [Singsong Robot Voice?]
as convenient as other office hours… Schedule your first apploint—applointment. Implointment. [Confidently]
Emplointment. [Singing]
Reset for dramaaaa lighting.

44 thoughts on “How to Choose a Doctor (in the U.S.)

  1. Being fortunate to be a citizen of a nation with public health care, most of the options you list don't exist for me. No insurance, no real choice of office size (only one office close enough to use), only one doctor there, but I could choose a PA, etc.

  2. I love this channel so much! Seriously thank you so much for helping people, like me, with what seems like a simple task, but in reality can be anxiety inducing. No one gives classes on the types of thing you guys cover during high school, college or beyond, so it's really helpful.

  3. Even if you're not in the US, many of these steps can still apply to you. If you're in a country with a public healthcare system then you have access to any doctor's office that is in the public system (in Australia we say that they bulk-bill). Look around online for a doctor that suits you! I'm personally, changing doctors because I disliked the demeanor of the previous doctor I had (she was grumpy and always pushed for me to leave, especially if I had multiple questions), although I am sticking to the main clinic at them moment (but mostly because they have an online booking system that suits my nervousness at phone calls). You do have options and if you're underage, talk to your parents about changing doctors if you don't like the one you're going to. It's okay to just not mesh with them.

  4. How to choose a doctor in the US:
    Step 1: Don't.
    Step 2: Get handed a list by your insurance company where the closest doctor they cover is an hour and a half away.
    Step 3: ???
    Step 4: Die of cancer or infection because it wasn't caught in an earlier stage.

  5. Also for females, the thing about your gyno often being able to work as a PCP is true in reverse as well: Your PCP can often serve as your gyno, at least for basic women's health things. Many of them prescribe birth control, provide pelvic exams and pap smears, even insert IUDs! If you need something more complicated or pregnancy care specifically, a OBGYN is more what you want, but otherwise, a typical family medicine doctor can often meet the basic needs.

  6. Hank! Because you like to learn, not to be snarky or nit picking: in the Operating Room, it's more likely for the Surgical Tech or Assistant to hand a scalpel, not the nurse, who is more likely to be circulating. Also, PCP can simply be primary care provider, not specifically physician, because often Nurse Practitioners (or Physician's Assistants in a similar ish way) can serve as a PCP (and there is debate that physicians are overqualified for PCP and better suited for specialties). Finally, I would more strongly encourage word of mouth over online reviews when choosing not just a PCP, but a surgeon as well!! Thank you for keeping How to Adult alive!

  7. I've found Zocdoc to be a really useful website for finding care providers, but I bet its usefulness depends on where you live. (More densely populated areas will have more reviews.)

  8. Doctors in US can sue for a bad review!?!? I didn't think it was possible for me to have a lower opinion of US healthcare system. I was wrong.

    So glad I live in UK with the NHS.

  9. 1) Do you have insurance
    n: Die/ go in horrible, crippling debt
    y: 2) Is the doctor in network?
    n: don't go see them
    y: Fuck it, see them.

  10. I'm sure Hank said things and I'll have to rewatch later to be sure (I actually do need to find a doctor so this is useful) but the entire time I was so distracted by that mask and waiting for Hank to just take it off that I didn't hear much

  11. For people in the U.K. just go here and enter your location for all your local GPs along with reviews, hours, availability, services, etc.

  12. In my case, it goes like this:
    1. Call clinic #1. They have no PCPs accepting new patients.
    2. Repeat for clinics 2 and 3.
    3. Run out of local clinics. Never see a doctor.

  13. Waitโ€ฆ has has Hank gotten a PCP? I remember the DH&J episode where Hank confessed that he just went to a walk-in clinic for his care.

  14. Tips for Trans viewers. Checkout your local LGBTQ+ Facebook page for good recommendations. Finding someone with trans experience or at least will correctly use your correct pronouns can be challenging and local Facebook pages can be a good resource of people who have actual experience with the local doctors.

  15. QQ: How to stop being jealous of your rich friends?


    I really like my friend, and he has always been there for me. I study abroad, so i do not have any family here. When I was admitted in a hospital after a suicide attempt here, he spent most of the day in the hospital taking care of me, despite being the class president. We call each other brothers, and we are extremely close.

    He is really into gadgets and stuff, so he would share with me his desire to buy stuff like an iPhone, and even a bike. Because of all the things he has done for me, I sort of felt obligated to give him almost all my money. We are Indians, and in our culture, we do not work while we are studying, we just use the money our parents give us. So, my parents give me my entire year's expense at once, instead of giving them to me monthly. Anyways, the money I gave to him was really essential for my mental health. I was going to use that money to have a comfortable lifestyle, using the air conditioner without worrying about the electricity bill, eating the food that I actually enjoy eating, seeing a psychiatrist, going out to just get a break, etc..

    I gave him my entire year's money, and he is paying my/our rent and utilities (we are roommates), but he does tell me to not use the air conditioner much, so I have had days when I sweat while sleeping. He also pays for a canteen to send 2 meals to our house daily, but I do not like the food, I just have to make do with it, because I cannot get the food I like. He also gives me money for laundry and mobile load, and whenever I need to buy toiletries. On rare occasions, he does get me pizza and coke. Now, while I have this lifestyle, I see him go out with people often, and he doesn't like telling me where he goes, so I stopped asking him too. When I see him go out with friends to have fun, I really want to feel happy for him, but I just can't help it, and instead think about how I should have been able to do this too.

    I know he does not mean to upset me. He just somehow lacks empathy, and is sort of short-tempered, due to which he sometimes comes across as being arrogant. I just feel that he must have faced situations to make him this way. I know that even if he has a psychopathology, it is my choice to stay his friend and/or give him money, so if it is impacting me negatively, I should call it quits. The problem is, I just know how nice he is, and I am just not ready to lose him.

    Maybe if you would have made the "how to say NO" video sooner, I might have saved myself from this XD

  16. This channel is amazing, but I'm always secretly worried that it won't last forever. (I mean, nothing does, but can this channel be the exception?)

  17. I've been trying to get a primary care physican for 3 years. Every 3 months I call every covered physician in 30 miles. Never once have they been accepting new patients. One time they told me that the doctor actually lived in Florida, halfway across the country. I even had one where I was informed that the listed doctor was actually a surgeon, not a general practitioner. Good times.

  18. OMG thank you for saying "People with Uteruses." Small speech things that probably only some of us notice, but are hugely thankful for <3

  19. This came out at the right time. I will be turning 20 next year and hope to get a primary doctor before I turn 20! THANK YOU!

  20. I'm trying to find a new PCP, since I moved, however its very difficult because don't know many people here OC so Step 1 doesn't work. I've called the ins for the Network doctors and done the review search but can't really tell if the PCP will work for me or not, any other suggestions? thank you

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