Friday, April 17, 2009

Top Five Quick Tips on Choosing Doctors

In a previous blog, I covered Litmus tests for how to assess whether a doctor is right for you. Here, in a nutshell, are the top five things to keep in mind when considering a doctor -- from gateway doctor (primary care physician/internist/family doctor) to specialist:

1. Bring a notebook to your first appointment with questions written in advance. Leave ample space under each question for you to write notes.

2. See if the doctor answers your questions to your satisfaction and thoroughly -- in a way you can understand it.

3. Observe the doctor's body language. See if the doctor maintains excellent eye contact, and when you bring up your concern, whether he/she seems in a rush or simply sits down and talks with you. In addition, see if the doctor is distant from you emotionally and physically. If the doctor is comfortable being physically close to you while answering questions, that's a good sign.

4. Give the doctor an emotional prompt on a topic that really concerns you, such as: "I'm really worried about my cholesterol levels." If the doctor is empathetic and great at putting you at ease, that's a great sign.

5. Call the doctor back the day after your appointment to bring up another real concern. If he or she calls you back promptly and reassures you/answers your questions, that's a sign that the doctor is vested in your emotional and physical well-being and respects you.

These methods aren't foolproof, but they really are crucial in your quest to find the doctor who's right for you.


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  2. Beth, this is rock solid advice! I wish I had this information earlier when I was looking for a doctor! Now that I'm considering selecting a new primary care physician, I will definitely use this information--thank you and I can't wait to read more of your great blog/column!

  3. Thanks, Jeannie. Oh, and congratulations on your getting accepted in a writing blog carnival!!

  4. Thank you very much, Gerard, for your feedback. It is very intimidating to find a doctor, let alone one who is the perfect fit. Good luck on your journey in finding a PCP.