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How do I Choose a Doctor?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 04 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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When it's time to choose a doctor, it's important to think about what you really need and want in a primary care physician. It’s a good idea to take your past medical experiences into consideration before deciding which doctor to choose. Then think about your present condition and what your main medical concerns are. For example, if you have a condition such as diabetes, pick a doctor with experience in treating that. Which hospital the doctor has privileges at is an important consideration because most doctors only have operating privileges at one hospital.

Asking family, friends, neighbors or co-workers about their doctors can be a good way to choose a doctor. This is a much better alternative to just deciding on the doctor geographically closest to your home. If you move into an area with doctors nearby, but don’t know anyone who has been to them, you could take note of the names and check the Internet for any complaints or criminal charges. You could also try contacting the American Medical Association (AMA) to find out information about the doctor's license and board certification.

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You could try out a new doctor by making an appointment for a minor, yet necessary medical issue. Take note whether the doctor seems thorough in his or her approach. Does he or she speak to you with a respectful tone? Does the doctor only seem to want to prescribe medication or will he or she take time to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have?

The quality of a doctor’s listening skills or lack thereof is a good way to choose a doctor because communication with your medical professional is so important. However, remember that it’s up to you to let the doctor know about your symptoms and what is going on medically with you as doctors aren’t mind readers. You should note changes in your body and keep track of them by writing them down and then taking your notes with you to the doctor.

When you choose a doctor, also evaluate the office staff. Is the receptionist or medical assistant helpful and polite? Note the office hours and the procedures for evenings, weekends and emergencies. Make sure the doctor’s services are covered under your medical plan every time you must choose a doctor. Once you have your choices of doctors narrowed down to two or three, you can try them before deciding on your main primary care physician.

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