10 questions to ask your family physician

I know in Singapore people doctor hop for various reasons.  Convenience and cost being the main ones, despite how lovely their doctors are.  

However, one of the beauties of family medicine is the depth of diagnostic power we have when we see a patient longitudinally.  This dimension of care is lost when you chop and change your doctor with each episode of illness.  

It will not be long before more and more people realise the benefits of having their own designated family physician.

The Singapore Health Promotion Board will be launched a campaign from May 2014 to raise awareness of this, which is a great foresight, in reducing the gaps in care resulting from a very efficient yet fragmented healthcare system in Singapore.

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Healthcare costs are rising despite the slow economic times.  It is therefore wise to spend your dollar on effective preventative care, and who better to look for than a generalist, a coordinator, an all rounder - a family physician :)

Here are a few questions to think about when choosing your personal doctor.

1. Is the doctor accepting new patients?

2. What insurance plans does the practice accept?

3. What are the office hours, and who covers when the doctor is out of town?

4. How long does it take to get a routine appointment?

5. How quickly can I get an emergency appointment?

6. At what point can I cancel an appointment and not be charged a fee?

7. Will a doctor, nurse or physician's assistant give advice over the phone or call in prescriptions without being seen?

8. Does the office send reminders for routine screenings?

9. What is the doctor's philosophy of care?