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Searching for a quality primary care physician can he hard work and time consuming. It shouldn’t necessarily be easy when finding someone who has your life and health in their hands. Unfortunately many people have more experience landing the right house or car to fit their personality than finding a doctor that they get along well with.
The same manner or care that one would take when looking for a medical practitioner should be done with the same diligence as when searching for a lawyer or any other professional whose liability is dependent on their skills, education level, credibility, and qualifications. It goes beyond simply labeling a doctor good or bad, but comfort level comes first and foremost.
There are a multitude of options to consider when finding a primary care physician that you feel comfortable with. Here are some points to consider.
#1) Is Gender Important to You?
Studies show that female doctors tend to be more thorough when providing preventative care to their patients. You might find that gender doesn’t make a difference to you. However, many women prefer female doctors over their male counterparts when getting breast, cervical or colon exams, while men tend to have no preference in the gender of their physician at all.
Considering the sex of your doctor will make you feel more at ease and shouldn’t be a stressful choice. After all, your doctor will be seeing parts of you that would otherwise make you feel uncomfortable.
#2) Is Your Doctor Reputable?
The importance of where your doctor went to medical school that defines their caliber is debatable. Of course, some of the best doctors in the country will have come from the best schools, but does not having an ivy league degree mean that your doctor isn’t so great? Absolutely not!
Some doctors who have gone to lesser known medical schools or schools outside the country are capable of being just as great as the ones with more fortunate education. However, you might have questions to ask, such as why your doctor chose a school in another country and not the U.S. If your doctor refuses to answer questions, this raise a red flag.
Here is a list of the top medical schools in the country
#3) Age Does Matter
Older doctors tend to have many years,even decades of experience under their belts, while younger doctors might hold interest in the latest techniques and innovations of medicine. Whichever you decide is completely up to you and is a matter of preference.
Keeping that in mind, a common characteristic we can all agree on is whether or not your doctor is personable and is a good listener. Some doctors have characteristics that makes them terrific caregivers, while others think that because of their status, whatever comes out their mouth say is gold.
It is important to find a doctor who values your opinion and the direction that you want your treatment plan to go. Weighing in your thoughts and ideas shouldn’t be something that goes quietly.
#4) Choose the Best Primary Care Plan
A good doctor that has your special interest in mind is a keeper. Most doctors will assess colds, fevers, aches and pains and other common illnesses. Should you become severely ill or have an issue that needs further investigating, your doctor will then direct you to a specialist.
A specialist is a physician that specializes in a certain field. If you are a woman, you might choose a gynecologist, who are in the field with issues pertaining to women. If pregnancy is something that is in the plan or is an option in the near future, an obstetrician is the best way to go in ensuring you provide the best care for you and the health of your baby.
There are literally hundreds of different kinds of specialists who meet the customized care of their patients. As you develop special needs throughout life, your primary doctor will direct you to the right one.
#5) Using Family & Friends as a Resource
Friends and family can provide a wealth of information to finding out about a physician in your area. Other than going to reputable doctor review sites, asking around is a good way gain a second opinion or to get a play by play of a doctor’s approach and personality.
Of course your friend’s opinion may not coincide to your needs, but can definitely be a time saver when looking around.
#6) Convenience is Always Good
At some point in your exploration, you will realize that convenience to the nearest hospital or clinic is imperative, especially when pregnant or dealing with an illness that requires ongoing care.
If you are young, then chances are that your hospital affiliation is not as important as it would be to someone who is older and living alone. Finding a doctor whose clinic is an affiliate to the nearest hospital prepares you for any unexpected event.
#7) Timeliness is Vital
Some doctors are so popular with the patients that they never seem to have an open schedule. This can be very frustrating when dealing with any ongoing issues pertaining to your health.
In any case, you’ll also want a doctor who strictly sticks to his or her time slot as well. If you book an appointment that requires time off from work, it is comforting to know that you won’t be stuck in the waiting room for 2+ hours. If you come in from time to time, finding yourself waiting long after your appointed commitments, then you will know right away that this physician isn’t a good fit for you.
#8) How Many & How Often
A doctor who works on a particular number of patients with a certain issue has a higher success rate than finding out that the issue you’re dealing with has never been experienced at that particular clinic or hospital. The chances of a catastrophe are exponentially higher if your chosen physician has no experience in treating your ailment.
Asking the right questions, such as how many patients and how often he deals with a particular symptom will alleviate any worries. If he does not have experience or has never operated on a person with a rare skin disease, then find someone who has.
Finding the right care doesn’t have to be like finding a needle in a haystack. With the resources and databases listing credentials, finding a doctor is now more attainable than ever before, but its up to you to do your research.
Tell us your thoughts. Have you ever had a really bad doctor you would never recommend to anyone? What do you think is the most important characteristic of a physician. Let us know!