Selecting a Doctor (cont.)
The Final Choice
Once you have narrowed the search to a handful of possibilities, the final decision is based on finding the right doctor for you. Even among doctors who are equally qualified, personality and practice style become the important aspects in selecting the right doctor.
Choose a doctor who communicates well with you, in a way you understand and feel comfortable with, and who explains your condition and treatment to your satisfaction.
Sometimes people choose a doctor because "everyone else" they know goes to him or her. This may mean that this doctor is a good doctor, but it may also mean that getting an appointment is difficult.
Advice in this regard is as follows:
- Most importantly, choose a doctor you trust and with whom you are comfortable.
Consider variables such as age, gender, language, background, training, and personality.
- Don't be afraid to ask the doctor questions to make sure that he or she is able to answer your questions in a manner that suits you.
- Choose at least one doctor in your area (people sometimes travel to specialty centers for high-level care, but you will always need a local doctor to care for you in emergencies or after hours).
- All decisions are not final. If you choose a doctor and later decide that he or she is not for you, you may decide to look for a different doctor. However, it would be wise to consider why you are changing and to do so only after considerable thought. The duration of the doctor-patient relationship often influences its strength and the communication and compassion between you and your doctor.
- Trust your gut feelings. They're usually right.
- After you decide to switch your physician, inform the new office of your previous doctors name and location so medical records can be transferred and previous test results are available.
Medically reviewed by a Board Certified Family Practice Physician
American Board of Medical Specialties. ABMS/Locating a Qualified Physician or Status of a Physician. Accessed June 16, 2004.
American Medical Association. The Doctor Finder Site. Available at http://www.ama-assn.org/aps/amahg.htm. Accessed June 16, 2004.
Hayer N. States Board of Medical Examiners. Available at http://www.docboard.org. Accessed June 16, 2004.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/24/2015