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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.



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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

How To Go About Picking A Doctor

by Francisco Arnold

Most people choose to pick a doctor from a single medical practice to be the person they go to when they have general questions or need a starting point in addressing problems. Likewise, many insurance carriers require their customers to each pick a medical practice as their primary care provider. It's helpful to discuss your concerns with someone who will get to know you and the issues you face. Choosing that person, however, calls for some thought regarding why you want to work with them.

Networks and Relationships

It's normal these days for a medical practice to have an established professional relationship with a nearby hospital. To start, you should be sure that your GP's preferred hospital is in the network your insurance plan covers. It's also a good idea to ask your doctor about specialists they'd prefer to send you to. For example, most women will want to know which obstetrician their GP wants to send them to. You'll be a lot further ahead having these conversations when you're looking for a doctor than to have to deal with them when you're referred to a specialist or when you need testing done.

Meet the Staff

At the typical medical practice, there is likely to be at least one nurse and a few office people. You're going to have to deal with these folks a lot, so don't make your judgment about the practice based solely on the doctor. There's a lot to be said for knowing whether you'll like the person handling billing or scheduling. If they don't seem particularly pleasant when you meet them, just imagine them telling you that your insurance won't cover something.

Be Wary of Ratings

We live in an age where everything is analyzed, and doctors' quality ratings are no different. One challenge with this, though, is that ideas that scale well for research purposes don't always show up as well in the doctor-patient relationship. Doctors with high ratings can end up playing to the system, and that may actually mean worse health outcomes for their patients.

A Doctor Who Challenges You

Human beings are prone to going along to get along, and doctors do the same thing. This isn't always the best thing for patients. Think about some of the obvious health issues you have, and then note whether a doctor challenges you about them or lets them slide when you both meet.