Finding a Right Doctor for You
Finding the Right Doctor
Finding the right doctor for oneself or one’s family can be a daunting task especially
when the need arise suddenly. Nevertheless, it is an exercise that pays rich dividends in the
form of confidence, appropriate attention, and good health. Therefore, our first suggestion to readers is to engage in this exercise at the earliest. There is no single formula that can help achieve this
objective for everyone as people have different needs, options, and priorities based upon myriad factors. The following tips will facilitate your search.
To begin with, you have to assess your needs.
Are you looking for a general physician, primary care doctor, or a specialist? The priorities may be different for those having a preexisting condition like a heart disease or so on. Make a list of doctors that potentially fit your needs. Always check your doctor’s qualifications by visiting appropriate websites and verify his/her degrees.
Verification & Short listing
Now that you have a comprehensive list, select the potential suitors on the basis of logistics, affordability, and ease of approach. Seek feedback from neighbours, contacts, coworkers, friends, and relatives to weed out the ones that do not fit your criteria of selection which may range from doctor’s gender, age, ethnicity, cultural orientation, and language proficiency to questionable reputation, alliance with persons reported to have unprofessional conduct and any reported violation of rules and regulations. Do a little bit of internet background check but without relying upon too much on any information contained therein.
Please do remember that a good human being is more likely to be a good professional while vice versa is not true.
At this stage, it is very pertinent to remind that it is not a disqualification if a doctor is firm but polite, and with good reason. There is a difference between arrogance and confidence which you can easily make out. For example, a doctor might refuse to issue a medical certificate upon patient’s insistence. This is not arrogance because doing so is a violation of rules of professional conduct. Accept this as a sign of doctor’s integrity. A doctor asking you to quit smoking/alcohol is actually your best friend. A doctor who is frank and honest in dealings is your best health companion. Using one’s own judgment in selecting your care provider is the best policy. A doctor who is teaching students and juniors while attending to you is less likely to mislead either you or his/her students. Similarly, a doctor offering you tips on prevention of diseases or minimizing their chances of recurrence is more likely to be a better choice.
Once you have further paired the list, now you are ready for the real encounter. Fix up an appointment with your selected doctor. Never mind paying the fees as you are going to avail his/her services which is not to be compared with window shopping. Make a list of your doubts and apprehensions for the intended visit.
Note the following:
Plan a visit to the doctor that you have zeroed upon and note that:
- How easy or difficult it is to approach the doctor?
- How friendly are his/her staff members?
- Is the facility patient friendly especially for the disabled or the elderly?
- Are the patients’ mails and phone calls being returned promptly?
- Is patient data safe in the custody of doctor and his/her staff?
- Does doctor accept insurance patients and is prompt in completing their paper work?
- Does the doctor promote any specific pharmaceutical company or laboratory for prescription and investigations or he is liberal about this aspect?
- Is the facility offering any educational literature/ information for the benefit of the interested patients?
- What is the policy regarding emergency cases?
- Whether the doctor examines the patient himself or is delegating the task to juniors and what are their qualifications, if so?
- Is the doctor compassionate, helpful, and caring?
- Does he/she give ample time to listen to patient’s story and willingly details the precautions and helpful tips for better health outcomes?
- Is the doctor well connected with reputed doctors of related fields should a referral be required?
- Is he/she willing to educate you on how to prevent an illness and cope with it more effectively after it has actually struck?
Forging an Alliance
Now is the time to decide about entering into a relationship with your doctor. Do not mind even if you are charged for telling your history as a patient as you are getting professional advice and prescription. Ask questions if you any doubts.
Last but not the least important fact to be borne in mind is that the ultimate test of a relationship is through a sustained interaction over a period of time. Human beings are ever evolving.
Let me list some prompts here that might be considered as the red flags in your relationship with the doctor.
- Insistence to buy a particular medication only from a particular source without an appealing reason (sometimes, it is a necessity but mostly it is not so)
- Rudeness and inappropriate body language towards you, attendants, staff, or any other who is in attendance
- Lack of attention to your complaints or concerns
- Being authoritarian without offering options and an explanation for the rationale of a suggested course of action (Doctors have to be a bit of authoritarians as they are your
guides and well wishers)
- Failure to honour commitments
- Offering guarantees and sure shot success of a particular line of treatment
- Being boastful about superior knowledgeable and high level connections
- Past history of cancellation of license/ issuance of warning/ malpractice suits
As a recipient of healthcare service, one must always stay alert. At the same time, it is the duty of every service seeker to show respect to the provider. Sometimes doctors use little tact in conveying unpleasant news simply because they don’t want to be hurtful in conveying the significant information to you. There is no harm intended in such an action on their part. Imagine yourself in his/her shoes and decide as to what would have been your response in such a situation. Isn’t it better to be forewarned than having to cut a sorry finger at a later date?
To sum up, the best doctor for you should be the one under whose patronage you feel secure, cosy, and at home. He/she should be firm but is the one that keeps your interest uppermost in mind.
Wishing you a great health and the best healthcare should you ever need it!
You are permitted to share, distribute, print, or reproduce this article for private use with proper citation of the source. The article is a part of our service to fellow human beings as a means of health education and awareness enhancement to minimize dependence on healthcare
Dr Vinay Kumar
Senior Consultant Dermatologist
+91-93 199 299 00
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