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Tips For Choosing A Family Physician

Updated on September 25, 2012

Take Your Time When Choosing a Family Doctor

Today we have many health care options. Choose your family doctor wisely!
Today we have many health care options. Choose your family doctor wisely! | Source

The best way to find a good family physician ...

If you have recently moved to a new town or are dissatisfied with your current health care professional, you may be wondering how to choose a family doctor. In a recent survey conducted by Consumer Reports, almost a third of patients interviewed said that they wish they could find a good way to judge doctor performance before choosing a family physician. Unfortunately, at this time there is no specific website or governing body that records and disseminates specific information on the performance of doctors.

One of the best ways to get information about individual doctors today is to check and see if the doctor has a website. If so, visit the website and check the doctor's education and board certification. Find out if the practice is accepting new patients and see if the family physician's website offers testimonials and comments from satisfied or dissatisfied patients. At this time, the latter is highly unlikely; however, as doctors become more and more Internet savvy, medical websites will become more interactive.

Watch For Physician Compare In 2015

Eventually, a comparison website will exist at which doctors may be compared one against another. This website is a condition of health reform and will be called Physician Compare. It should be up and running by 2015.

In the meantime there are a couple of tips on how to find a good doctor:

  • Word of mouth is an excellent way to find a good family physician. Ask your friends and family members and coworkers to tell you about doctors whom they like.
  • If you are moving or seeking a specialist, be sure to ask your own general practitioner for referrals.

Ask Specific Questions & Keep Your Personal Needs In Mind!

When you have narrowed down the field to a few doctors you would like to interview, be sure to ask lots of good questions. Ask about typical things such as office hours, affiliation with hospitals, staff qualifications and so on. Also, ask a few "getting-to-know-you" questions to learn more about your potential doctor’s personality and way of dealing with patients.

If you have a specific health condition, be sure to discuss it during your initial interview with family physicians you are considering. Follow your judgment to choose a doctor who displays some depth of knowledge of your condition.

Think of the doctors you are interviewing as if you were intending to enter a relationship with them - because you are! The doctor you choose should be genuinely concerned about you and responsive to your questions and concerns.

If you begin with a new doctor and then find that you are uncomfortable with him or her, that communication is not clear and open, that the doctor seems to be too busy to see you or that you must wait for a long time before every visit, you have good reason to seek a different doctor.

Remember that you are in charge. When you choose a family physician, You are choosing a professional to help you. Don’t put up with service that is less than polite or professional.



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