Choosing a Physician

Choosing a doctor for any procedure can be a difficult and frustrating task. How can you possibly gauge whether any given doctor will do a good job? While it’s difficult to know for sure, here are some tips to help you reach an educated conclusion on the best doctor for you.

You can find out about any doctor by looking him up. Yup – the state medical board has an online database of every practicing doctor, and a printed version of the database may be available in your local library. The entry for each doctor lists his education, training, certification, specialties, and any legal history involved with his practice. This research can give you a good background when choosing from a field of doctors. If you have a very specific condition or are looking for a very specific treatment, take a careful note of the specialties. A doctor may be a cardiologist, but specializes in prevention or nuclear cardiology.

Magazines, such as New York magazine have an annual supplement dedicated to rating doctors. If it’s not on the stands when you begin your search, the public library should certainly have a copy.

Hospital are another thing often rated, and you should check these carefully too. If a hospital has a reputation for excellent care in a specific area, the doctors will be working harder to uphold the reputation. While a large hospital may have better resources, the small may have doctors able to provide more personalized care. Do some research on you hospital’s reputation before settling on it.

If you’re going in for surgery, find out how experienced your doctor is in performing it. Practice makes perfect, even in surgery. And while every doctor needs practice, you probably don’t want it to be on you.

Finally, don’t forget to check for bedside manner. If the doctor doesn’t listen to your concerns or treat you patiently, you can be sure their attitude will not improve when you are under their care. Choose doctors who will treat you well and listen to you. If anything feels wrong, you want to know that you have a doctor you can trust.

26. June 2008 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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