HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — We’ve found that some people are nervous about going to the doctor's office during the pandemic. If you're looking for a new doctor during this time, those nerves can skyrocket.
One doctor tells us, you shouldn’t be afraid to find a new caregiver during the pandemic.
We met with Dr. Neha Shah of Thrive Alabama. She tells our reporter, “This is a time that really lets us know the importance of having a health care team, having a home-- somebody that you trust and can call on when you have these questions because there has been so much information out there.”
Dr. Shah has a few tips if you're looking for a new doctor during the pandemic. She says, “Start looking online and talking to friends and family to see who they use as far as knowing who to trust.”
She says online profiles for health care providers are a good place to start. Dr. Shah adds, “You can try to get to know somebody. A lot of folks will want to pick somebody who’s also from a small town, or maybe they went to the same college together, or a female vs. a male provider. So, you can pick that way.”
Scheduling a visit could take some time if you’re a new patient. But, Dr. Shah says that shouldn’t deter you. She adds, “You know, it might take 3 or 4 weeks to get in with a new health care provider. If there’s not anything urgent going on-- just go ahead and make that appointment… So that when you don have something more urgent, they’re your person. They’re your doctor and primary care provider and you can call on them in the future.”
Many are turning to telehealth and virtual health care options during the pandemic. But, if it’s been a while since you’ve had a physical, a specific exam, or you just feel more comfortable coming in. You should go in person. Dr. Shah explains, “Coming in for preventative care-- getting vaccinations, getting pap smears , mammograms... prostate exams, your labs checked, your blood pressure checked-- it’s all very important to not delay. We want to catch things early. The earlier we catch things, the lower the morbidity and mortality-- typically speaking.”
One very important thing you should make sure you get done that you don’t necessarily need a primary care physician for? Get your flu shot.