In Search of the Perfect Physician
How do you find a physician with the best credentials, a good bedside manner, and a warm personality? There are many ways to find a physician, but only a few methods will produce the right chemistry.
Finding a New PhysicianYour local hospital or community medical center most likely has a physician referral service. Use it. When you call the service, have your questions about the physician ready. A sample question list may look like this:
- Is this physician accepting new patients?
- Is the physician willing to meet with me in person to address my questions before I talk about my specific problem?
- Is the physician male or female?
- How long has the physician been in practice?
- Where did the physician go to medical school?
- What is the physician's age?
- What are the physician's's specialties?
- Is the physician Board certified?
- What are the physician's areas of interest or research?
- Does the physician speak Spanish? (Or whatever language you may need)
- Can I reach the physician after hours?
Interview the physicianPerhaps the best way to determine if a physician is a good match for you is to book an appointment or consultation to meet them, before addressing your specific health problem(s). Most offices will accommodate your request for an interview and may charge you for a brief office visit, depending on how long the meeting takes. Ask about the office fee policy prior to the interview.During your interview, be aware of your instincts and first reaction when meeting the physician.
- Does the physician make eye contact with you?
- Are your questions fully answered or explained if you are unclear?
- Do you feel rushed or unimportant?
- What is the physician's general attitude?
- Are your questions welcomed or do you feel like you have to justify your requests?
Know Your Medical HistoryDuring your interview, it is important to know your medical history: It is helpful for each person to get their medical, social, and family history straight. Patients may be required to fill out an extensive questionnaire that covers their medical history, their family history, and relate it to how it affects of their living situation, job, relationships, and other factors on their health. Understanding your family history can make an enormous difference when describing your health problems to a physician.