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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 Choose Your Family Practitioner

by Francisco Arnold

Family practitioners (or family doctors) serve an important role for most people. Rather than specializing in only one area of medical needs, family practitioners are trained to do it all. Additionally, they know when it's time to refer you to a doctor that specializes in a particular medical area. The relationship you build with your doctor means creating a history of treatment that can only enhance your ability to make good healthcare decisions. Choosing the right family care practitioner is vital so read on to learn more.

Consider Your Options

Whether you are dealing with a chronic condition like diabetes or hypertension or you need your annual check-up, there are a few vital considerations that must go into choosing a family doctor.

Know about insurance coverage – If you have a healthcare plan, be sure to check the website for a list of covered doctors. The cost might make you more reluctant to visit a practitioner that is not covered or is out of your insurance network. Verify your co-pays prior to your visit, and make sure that you don't need precertification or to designate your doctor as your primary care physician before your appointment.

Ask for referrals – Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to learn about caring and competent doctors. If your friends, co-workers, family members, and neighbors like and trust a particular doctor, that says a lot.

Questions to ask – Once you've narrowed down the list, phone the offices and ask the following questions. This will save you the trouble and time spent seeing a doctor that is unsuitable for you.

1. Do you accept my insurance? Be sure to also follow-up with your insurance carrier to confirm coverage.

2. Are you accepting new patients? Some doctors focus on giving patients plenty of time and have a waiting list for new patients.

3. How long do patients usually have to wait for an appointment?

4. Do you accept walk-ins? This can be an invaluable perk for those who wake up feeling sick and need help that same day.

5. Do you have late or weekend hours?

6. Do you have an after-hours phone nurse?

7. Are you affiliated with certain hospitals?

8. What diagnostic tests are performed onsite? If the doctor has X-ray equipment, a lab, and other facilities on-site, that can cut down the time needed to get test results.

Once you've visited with a doctor, you can evaluate your comfort level, the friendliness of the office staff, the convenience of the location, and more. It takes time to build a relationship with a new practitioner, but doing so can mean the difference between optimum health and sickness. For more information, reach out to clinics like the Snow Creek Medical Center.