How to Choose the Right Doctor for you
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.
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?
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.
- Do you want a large practice?
- Do you want a practice that has walk-in hours?
- Are they affiliated with a hospital that you prefer and is allowable under your insurance policy?
- Are they willing to share information with other doctors that you see?
- What is their billing policy?
- How quickly can I get into see you?
- 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.
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
Level of Experience
large, many doctors
discusses all options
thinks outside the box
Does the doctor/practice
How many years practicing?
smaller, more intimate
uphold moral and ethical decisions
where their training was
affiliated with one or more hospitals
consults with your other physicians
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.