Choosing a good doctor who provides quality medical assistance and guidance is not as difficult as you may think.
Getting names of qualified physicians in your area is easy enough to do, although many do not provide you with a free consultation. This is unfortunate, as you will want to find a doctor who is skilled in medicine as well as communication and bedside manner.
Check the doctor’s fact sheet before choosing him or her as a healthcare provider.
So many insurance companies today ask you to select a healthcare provider from a list of physicians in your area. Countless hundreds of people annually choose a doctor they’ve never heard of, simply because they don’t know one from the other on the list of providers. This is not good. If you have never visited – or even met – a doctor, how do you know that they are the right one for you?
Most doctors offer a ‘fact sheet’ about themselves that is free for the asking. This sheet will list their education, residency, awards, and board certification dates. It may also contain personal information about them, such as hobbies, familial status, and even personal statements by them. These fact sheets will give you a better look into the background of the doctor and their proven abilities to better serve you.
If you go to a clinic that offers a variety of doctors to choose from, you can pick the one you feel comfortable with by looking at their picture.
As vague as this selection method is, many clinics operate this way. You will be asked to choose a doctor to see, and you will be able to make a decision based on looking at a picture of the doctor. If you trust the clinic in general, this isn’t so bad.
You can tell a lot from a picture, and if you’ve been to a few different doctors, you know the general types. There is the male doctor with the curly hair who is straightforward but jokes a great deal. Then there is the sweet female doctor, who is always in her early 40s but never looks it. She’s nurturing and actually cares about your well-being. Then there is the kid who is fresh out of residency who knows about all the latest treatments – he or she is usually out to build their client base and their golf score.
The good thing about picking a doctor based on their picture from a clinic is that you can always pick another if your first meeting doesn’t go as well as you would like. Remember to ask them a series of questions during the initial meeting to make sure they have seen patients with your condition(s) before and are able to care for you with modern diagnostics.
If you need a specialist, ask your doctor for a referral.
Your doctor probably will refer you to a specialist in their professional network should the need arise. If you like your primary physician and trust their ability, you can feel good in trusting the specialist that they refer you to. If not, you can always call back and ask for another referral. Doctors tend to mingle quite a bit, and they know who is in practice around town.
Should you trust the small-town doctor?
If you come from a smaller community, chances are there is a doctor in town that everyone goes to. This doctor has been in practice forever, seeing families through generations. This doctor is obviously doing something right, and you should check him or her out.
The drawback to using the community favorite is that they may be aging and approaching retirement age. Their successor may not be to your liking, so it will be important when the time comes to meet the person taking over the doctor’s clients and make sure you have a good rapport with them.
Finding a ‘Board-Certified’ Doctor
When seeking a new doctor, you will want to make sure that they are certified by a board or other professional physician’s organization. This is especially true for plastic and reconstructive physicians and other specialists. These certification boards establish a strict code of moral and ethical standards, and they help to maintain quality control within a group of physicians.
One professional organization for physician’s certification is the American Board of Medical Specialties, or the ABMS. The ABMS has a web site where you can search for a board-certified specialist; the web site address is: http://www.boardcertifieddocs.com.
General practitioners often join the American Board of Family Medicine, or the ABFM. This governing body oversees training and certification of all types of healthcare providers, from residents to established doctors. You can search for a board-certified doctor, who are referred to as .diplomates., at the ABFM web site, at: http://www.theabfm.org.