Doctors are vital parts of our lives. They can actually help you extend your life, and most importantly your quality of life. Understanding the signs and signals that are bodies are giving us when something is not quite right is key. So, finding the best doctor for you is an incredibly important tool in your health toolbox.
These days who has time to be sick? When it comes to my health, I don’t play, I believe in being proactive.
Remember, a great doctor will help you stay healthy, in addition to working with you to help you find out what going on when you don’t feel well. You BOTH need to see this as a long-term partnership.
So how do you find not just a good doctor, but a great one?
There are several steps to finding a great doctor, but the first one is understanding what kind of doctor works best for you and your family?
I think it is a great idea to create a wish list for your perfect doctor, and give yourself a time limit so you don’t procrastinate or get into analysis paralysis.
Here are some guidelines to help you get started…
1. Does your doctor have to be local, or can they be long distance? The bottom line is are you willing to travel to get the kind of care you need, or do you want/need your doctor to be local? You need to know what area your search should cover before you start looking for a doctor so you can make your job easier. There is no reason to look at doctors who are 30 miles from your house if you are only willing to travel five miles.
2. How much time to you have to spend? Some doctors are great, but have really long wait times because they spend a lot of time with their patients or because they are so good, so there is a trade-off. Are you willing to wait to see a great doctor, if they have long wait times, tend to run behind, or if it takes you a while to get an appointment?
3. Make Sure You Both Are On The Same Page. Find out about the doctors treatment philosophy? Ask how much time the doctor spends with each patient. Do they believe in prescribing medicines for everything, will they order tests if they think you need them, or is everything under lock and key? Some doctors, write prescriptions in a heartbeat because they are used to treating symptoms. If that is not something you feel comfortable with, this may not be the right doctor for you.
4. Do Your Research, both online and offline.
Do some online research to get an idea of what others thought about the doctors you are considering. You will be able to get a glimpse of people’s feelings about the care that the doctor is giving their patient, at least those who are willing to share. It will also give you some insight into what kinds of experiences you may have while you are there. I love to start with those Best Doctor listings that you can find in magazines, or newspapers. The doctors on that list tend to have a good reputation and tend to have tons of great recommendations and accolades from their patients.
5. Ask people for Referrals and Recommendations, but get details. The key here is finding out what people like about them. So, once someone gives you a recommendation ask follow-up questions. For instance, what do you like about them, how long is the wait time, how hard is it to get an appointment if you are sick or have an emergency, and have you ever needed to go to them to treat you for long term care?
Once you have done your research and you have made a decision, make an appointment. You can always do a trial appointment to see if it’s a good match, and if not go back to your list and try again.
If you have a great tip for finding a great Doctor leave it below, and I will include it in a follow-up and give you credit.