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How to Choose the Right Doctor for you

Updated on September 27, 2013

Whether you are looking for a specialist, a family doctor or a consult, it is important to find a doctor that you trust and are comfortable with. While some of us may be restricted by our insurance, there are usually parameters within it, that still allow us options.

How you are treated by a doctor is not just limited to the doctor but by the office staff, as well!
How you are treated by a doctor is not just limited to the doctor but by the office staff, as well! | Source

Bedside Manner

There was a time when people would say that if the doctor was good enough, his/her bedside manner wasn't important. I, personally, don't agree with that. I do not believe that skill and ability exempt us from treating other human beings with kindness and compassion. If I come into a doctor's office to be treated for an illness, I want that doctor to see me, the person with that illness. I am not a chicken pox, a kidney failure or a tumor. I may be a person who has a physical ailment but I am a person first.

What are your thoughts?

Would you interview a doctor before making an appointment?

See results

Interview your future Doctor

It is perfectly acceptable and often encouraged to interview a future doctor. For example: If you are pregnant and would like to have a pediatrician before your child is born, you will probably need to do that.

  • If you are using insurance, you should first check which doctors are providers.
  • You can also ask your obstetrician for a list of pediatricians.
  • Ask your friends, family and family doctor. If people are happy with their doctors, they will share that and if they are not happy, you'll hear about it, too!

After you have made a list of several doctors, you would like to know more about, give their office a call. Make sure to prioritize ahead of time what is important for you.

Don't be Embarrassed to ask your Future Doctor too many Questions.

If any of this makes you uncomfortable, try to remember: This is the person that you, at some point or other, will be trusting to make critical health decisions with your or your loved ones' lives. Treat this like a job interview. Would you hire someone if you didn't think they could do the job?

Questions to ask at the Interview with a Doctor.

  1. Do you want a large practice?
  2. Do you want a practice that has walk-in hours?
  3. Are they affiliated with a hospital that you prefer and is allowable under your insurance policy?
  4. Are they willing to share information with other doctors that you see?
  5. What is their billing policy?
  6. How quickly can I get into see you?
  7. Is someone on call 24 hours?

These are all important questions to consider. You can then, call the practice, tell them you are looking for a new doctor and ask them if you can stop in for a visit and interview. Most practices have time set aside for this and will guide you how to proceed.

How would you like to use this doctor's office?
How would you like to use this doctor's office? | Source

It is important to work with a doctor whose personality aligns with yours. If you are proactive and aggressive, you should find a doctor who feels that way. If you prefer caution and would rather take things slow, it is important to find a doctor who won't push you into something you are not ready for.

You are Allowed to Change your Mind when Choosing a Doctor.

Sometimes we choose a doctor because they work well with certain needs and end up needing to switch when our issues change. It can feel awkward to have to change doctors but it is essential to see a doctor who is able to meet your needs.

Choose your Priorities

Type of Practice
Communication level
Methods
Ethics
Level of Experience
large, many doctors
discusses all options
thinks outside the box
Does the doctor/practice
How many years practicing?
smaller, more intimate
makes recommendations
more conservative
uphold moral and ethical decisions
where their training was
affiliated with one or more hospitals
consults with your other physicians
pro-active
that you feel comfortable with?
new and innovative or tried and true?

How to Choose a Primary care Physician

Physician's Referral Services

There are many different services that can help you choose a doctor, as well as narrow down your search. They are also geared to help you figure out what matters to you most.

The first resource I would recommend is your current doctors. If you are happy with your family doctor, they could probably recommend a good Ob/Gyne.

The next resource is to go through your insurance company's website.

Many hospitals also offer a Physician referral program. They will take several factors into account before they make a recommendation.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions Randi! I so rarely go to a doctor...it's been eleven years now....but I start on Medicare in one month and I need to find a doctor for my regular checkups...so I'll use these suggestions. Thank you!

      bill

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Totally agree with you, I like to be comfortable with my doctor and be able to discuss anything at all that concerns me. A doctor really should be a lot like a best friend, minus the socializing. lol ^

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

      Excellent advice regarding choosing the right doctor. I was restricted by my insurance, but now finally upgraded to a better plan. I don't like doctors who have a problem with my intellect and ability to do research. Many of them believe that they are supposed to know everything and their patients should be illiterate when it comes to medical issues. Of course, the doctor is the one who is supposed to diagnosed the TRUE cause of our symptoms, but this should not prevent us from doing some research in order to get half and idea of what COULD be the cause.

      Voted up and important!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Bill! I just got out of a 3 day hospital stay and realized that there are different options, sometimes!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Jackie! I agree but I have to rell you, our pediatrician actually socialized with the parents and even had an annual Chtistmas party at his home where he invited the parents he was close to.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Martie, thank you so much for your votes! I truly believe that we heal faster and are much better patients when we are "consulted" and included in our treatment. So glad you have more freedom of choice now!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much for a useful hub :)

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Frank! :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      You presented good suggestions, Randi. It's so important to get recommendations. On-line medical ratings are valuable. I once selected a podiatrist without checking him out who had all kinds of malpractice claims against him. My cousin clued me in. I'll never do that again! I now select my doctors based on recommendations from nurses and physicians I know (whenever possible). I usually select doctors who have been practicing for at least 10 years because research shows that it takes at least that long to become at expert in one's field. I also generally want to know with a practice whether I'm going to see a nurse practitioner or the doctor. If I'm paying the same amount for a co-pay, I'll generally take the doctor given my medical history. (Personal bias.)

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great advices, Randi. Also a great list of questions to consider when someone search for a new doctor!

      As usual, I love the table with all the priorities. A table is always a great way to see all the options clearly!

      Being in Canada, I have access to medical care for "free". Our taxes pay for that service. But a few years ago I decided to let go of my doctor because she didn't really care to find solutions to a problem I had and I found that a lack of caring for a patient. I must say that on the side of her practice, she started to give Botox to patients who were interested.... and for those visits patients had to pay money. Not being interested in that kind of service I suppose I was not an enough valuable patient for her. So I decided to change doctor.... and that was not an easy task because there are not really enough doctors. But the good thing is that there are enough walk in clinics and the emergency in the hospitals if you need any care.

      During my search for a new doctor, I found a first one.... she was a bully. I couldn't take that kind of attitude. I search for compassion in a doctor not a tyrant. Finally, I found another doctor and she is very kind and sweet and seems to know what she is doing :-)

      Have a great weekend!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, FlourishAnyway! Those are important suggestions. I also resent paying the same co-pay for a nurse practioner or a student doctor. When I broke my foot, the hospital suggested an Orthopedic surgeon. My first appointment, he never showed up and his student did everything.I felt confident in her care but when I received his $750 bill, I called my insurance company to let them know that I never even met him! Thank you for stopping by!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      These are very practical tips and suggestions, Randi. Thank you for sharing them. All too often, patients do too little research before choosing a medical doctor. They put more time and care into choosing the model for a new car.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, so much, Joelle! It was actually a story similar to you that prompted me to write this hub. I have been seeing a specialist for about 4 years and he keeps saying we should wait and see, wait til it gets worse, etc. I ended up in the hospital last week. They sent in the doctor who was on call. We started talking and he told me about all these innovative, albeit, a bit aggressive things they can do now. I was floored. This was my third hospitalization in less than 3 years and my own doctor never mentioned a thing!

      I'm so glad you found a doctor you are happy with. It is so important. Have a great week!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      drbj, you are so right. I am constantly amazed how much time and money some people will put into their eyeglass frame but when I start to talk about lenses and technology, many will say, just the cheapest! I'll never understand that! Thank you for stopping by!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and voted up.

      Eddy.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I am sorry to hear that you needed to be hospitalized. I hope that you are getting better! Take good care of yourself!

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Hi Randi! I hope you're now back in the pink of health.

      This is so timely as we have just moved to a new place and need to change health provider. Thank you for the reminder and for this very informative and useful hub. It carries very important matter--health matter. Needless to say, you have my votes.

      Love from the sky~

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you so much, Eddy!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Joelle! I am doing much better! You take good care of yourself, as well!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you so much, Cris. Yes, I am feeling much better! Good luck with your move! We just moved, also but not far enough to change our doctors! Thank you for your vote! xoxo

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      I'm sorry, Haylemesekle.This is a writing platform. there aren't any grants here. I would try going through a search engine. Good luck!

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