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In Search of the Perfect Physician
Finding a New Physician
- Is this physician accepting new patients?
- Is the physician willing to meet with me in person to address my questions before I talk about my specific problem?
- Is the physician male or female?
- How long has the physician been in practice?
- Where did the physician go to medical school?
- What is the physician's age?
- What are the physician's's specialties?
- Is the physician Board certified?
- What are the physician's areas of interest or research?
- Does the physician speak Spanish? (Or whatever language you may need)
- Can I reach the physician after hours?
Interview the physician
- Does the physician make eye contact with you?
- Are your questions fully answered or explained if you are unclear?
- Do you feel rushed or unimportant?
- What is the physician's general attitude?
- Are your questions welcomed or do you feel like you have to justify your requests?
Know Your Medical History
Keep a Copy of Your Medical Records
The Office Visit: Your Time
Managing Your Healthcare: A Three-step Process
- Ask . The importance of asking questions cannot be stressed enough. Ask about any diagnosis, treatment or medical procedure. Get a description of any recommended medical procedure or test, as well as its risks. Ask for pamphlets or literature. Ask the physician to speak in terms you understand. Find out where the procedure or test will take place. Are you able to take someone with you into the treatment area? Don't be shy.
- Clarify . If you do not understand the treatment recommendation(s), ask for clarification. Get a second opinion. Get a third opinion if you are still wary. Talk to friends who have had similar medical problems. If you think of additional questions after your visit, call the physician. Leave a message with his assistant or a nurse. Some practices now offer you the option to email your questions or leave questions in voicemail.
- Evaluate . Do your homework. Utilize the library, Internet, and other medical sources to do some research. Books and magazines are incredibly useful tools when researching medical conditions and treatments.
Do not Settle
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
Office on Women's Health http://www.womenshealth.gov
Canadian Institute for Health Information http://www.cihi.ca
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca
Checklist. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center website. Available at: http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/findadoctor/choosing/checklist/Pages/index.aspx. Accessed October 22, 2013.
Choosing a family doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/choosing-a-family-doctor.html. Updated January 2011. Accessed October 22, 2013.
How to choose a doctor. Consumer Reports website. Available at: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/how-to-choose-a-doctor/index.htm. Updated March 13, 2013. Accessed October 22, 2013.
How to choose the right physician—how to tell us if you don't. New York State Department of Health website. Available at: http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/1444. Accessed October 22, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 10/2013
- Update Date: 10/22/2013