In Search of the Perfect Physician

IMAGE 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 Physician

Your 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?
  • Which insurance networks is the physician affilated with?
  • Is the physician willing to meet with me in person to address my questions before I talk about my specific problem?
  • How long is the average visit?
  • Will I see the same physician at each visit?
  • 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?
  • What other hospitals is the physician associated with?
  • Does the physician have evening or weekend hours?
  • 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?
Word of mouth is usually a good referral source, as well. Remember though, that your friend's expectations of a physician may not match yours. Meet the physician yourself before making any final decisions.

Interview the Physician

Perhaps 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?

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