When you are considering your medical care, there are specific things to look for in a doctor that can make a big difference in the care you receive. After having several bad experiences at the doctor’s office I decided to sit down and think about what makes a good doctor. I came up with a very comprehensive list, and when I use my list of things to look for in a doctor I always end up with a caring and helpful doctor. If you have been frustrated with the medical care you receive, or if you are searching for a new doctor make sure they meet these qualifications and you should be very happy with the results.
1. Board Certification
Making sure your doctor is board certified is by far one of the most important things you can do. Board certification is a credential that goes above and beyond being a licensed doctor. A doctor who has board certification has voluntarily gone through a rigorous process of testing and peer evaluation that ensures he or she is a quailed specialist. I only go to doctors who are board certified, and I feel board certification is one of the critical things to look for in a doctor. I want to know for sure that my doctor has extensive knowledge in whatever my problem may be.
2. Good Communicator
Have you ever gone to the doctor and had them look more at the computer screen than at you? I have had this happen several times, and I always leave feeling like I wasn’t heard and my doctor didn’t fully pay attention to me. I understand computers are necessary in today’s medical care, however, I want to be able to look my doctor in the eyes and have a conversation. Being able to communicate with your doctor is essential. If you don't feel you are being heard or you don’t understand what your physician is saying, then I suggest either talking to your doctor about this problem or finding a new doctor.
3. Willing to Collaborate
I am a firm believer that patients should be able to be a part of their medical care and be allowed to make decisions based upon all of the options. For example, if there is a medication you feel hesitant about taking, your doctor should be willing to work with you to find an option you are more comfortable with. I speak from experience. I once had a doctor insist I take a medication that I knew I was allergic to and would give me a severe rash. She would not listen to me and would only prescribe this one medication. My doctor was so unwilling to collaborate with me that I actually had to find another doctor! If your doctor refuses to listen to you, it is okay to get a new doctor.
Good chemistry is important in any relationship, even the relationship you have with your doctor. You should feel comfortable telling your doctor anything. After all, in order to take the best possible care of you, your physician needs all the information. Make it a priority to find a doctor you feel comfortable with. If you have good chemistry with your doctor it will ensure that you feel at ease when you have to talk about difficult topics.
5. Positive Attitude
Have you ever left the doctor’s office feeling really discouraged? I hope not, but if you have felt discouraged it could be a result of your doctor having a negative attitude. Although your appointments aren’t going to be light and cheery, in most situations you should leave feeling hopeful about your health. Doctors should reassure you that everything is being done for you to feel as good as you possibly can. Having a doctor with a negative attitude can make you feel depressed, which can actually negatively impact your health. So, look for a doctor that is upbeat and helpful because that can make a huge difference in how you view your health.
Whenever I have had to find a new doctor I have always checked to see if other people have recommended him or her. Not only do I ask friends for who they would recommend, I also go to doctor review websites. I find these websites can be very helpful in pointing me in the right direction, and I always stay away from a doctor with multiple poor reviews. Although it is always best to hear the recommendation from someone you trust, a doctor review website is the next best thing as it does allow you to get an idea of what other people think of the doctor you are thinking of seeing.
It may not be the first thing you think of when you are considering what doctor to see, but making sure the doctor is available is important. Some doctors are so busy that it is very difficult to get an appointment. If you have something important you need to see your doctor about it is always nice to know you won’t have to wait for a month or more. I recommend asking the receptionist how long patients typically have to wait to see the doctor. I don’t mind waiting a week or two, but more than that seems a bit too long to me.
If you need a new doctor, taking this list into consideration can help you find a good physician that you feel comfortable with. It is important to have a doctor you like and trust. After all, you are seeing this person to make sure you are as healthy as you can possibly be! What tips do you have for finding a good doctor?