When looking for a Doctor, taking the time to think about what specific attributes you are looking for in a practitioner, and doing your due diligence early one is extremely important. Adequate preparation beforehand, helps to dramatically improve your overall health outcomes.
I suggest one starts by taking the time out to jot down some key factors in the beginning that will help you to be more comfortable with your chosen practitioner. For instance, are you looking for a male or female doctor? How far are you willing to travel to their office? Are you looking for a doctor that is part of a large health network who may have a larger number of resources, or one that is a solo practitioner in a small office who may, as a result, have more flexibility in your care? Are you comfortable seeing mid-level practitioners in your Doctors’ absence such as Nurse practitioners or Physician Assistants? Determining what factors are most important to you, reviewing what is negotiable and what is not, and then narrowing down your choice based on those factors, is a great place to start.
Second, I suggest you take to the internet. These days, virtually all the information pertaining to a Doctors’ credentials can be found online. This is public information which in most cases is purely objective. Things such as where they attended school, what residency programs they completed, fellowship attended, medical license information, and likely any previous positions they’ve held can be easily found out. Use this to your advantage. Most Doctors are happy to have you look up their credentials, and if you encounter one that seems a bit turned off by your research- I would caution you against using that practitioner.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to go to your first appointment with some specific questions about your health ailments/ concerns, and their practice philosophy. Find out what their thoughts are pertaining to some potential treatments you might end up getting. For instance, are you dealing with a very conservative Doctor that utilizes prescriptions and surgical treatments as a last resort, or are they one that believes these treatments should be approached early on? Don’t be afraid to write these questions down and bring them with you. This is your health and so there is nothing to be shy about here.
Appropriate research and preparation on your part as a patient is key, both before and during your first appointment to help ensure you are setting yourself up to get the best care possible.
Written by Dr. Sarepta Isaac, DPM, MBA @drsarepta