Choosing the Right Doctor

When you select a doctor, you choose a partner in your own health care. Choose wisely, and use the following criteria as a guideline.

1) Educational/licensing qualifications.

Most reputable doctors have degrees from medical schools you’ve heard of. If you haven’t heard of the school, you can research the school on the Internet and learn if it’s an accredited medical program with professional recognition.

While medicine is a highly regulated industry, it’s always wise to do your homework and learn what you can about a possible practitioner. Consider this the baseline requirement of a good doctor.

If you’re selecting a Medical Doctor (M.D.), check to ensure that your doctor is licensed currently by the American Medical Association. This will ensure that he or she is in good standing with the primary professional licensing association for medical physicians.

2) Does your doctor offer a conservative approach to interventional therapies?

Physicians vary in their opinions and approaches to patient treatment. It’s usually best, however, to select a practitioner who will approach your health prudently. Many physicians, for example, will consider the body’s natural defense to ailments or suggest changes in behavior and nutrition before offering prescription or surgical remedies. All medications and procedures carry some risk, and a wise physician is one who suggests a conservative approach before turning to interventional therapies.

3) Are there any pre-existing health conditions with which your physician would need experience?

If you have a condition or a disease (such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer), ask your prospective doctor about his or her experience in treating your condition. Although your primary care physician needn’t be expert in your condition, it’s preferable to select a physician who has had some experience in treating other patients with a range of medical problems.

4) Does your physician have a relationship with the hospital you prefer?

Most of us don’t like to think about the possibility of hospitalization, but it’s a scenario we need to anticipate. For this reason, you should ensure that your doctor is affiliated with and trusted at your local hospital. This relationship helps ensure a consistency and a high level of quality in your care. It’s your health, so ask your doctor about affiliations with local hospitals.

 
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