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How to choose the right doctor…

by , 01 August 2013

To find the right doctor is the essential step in getting the best health care. Read on to discover what you must look for when choosing a doctor.

“One of the best ways to make sure you're getting excellent health care is to have a primary care physician (PCP) with whom you can build a long-term relationship-someone who knows your medical background and understands what's important to you,” says the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

So how do you go about choosing a doctor who will have your best interests at heart?

When choosing a doctor look for the following qualities:

  • The doctor’s interest and thoroughness in periodic physical exams. If you need special tests, you’ll want a doctor who is willing to order them.
  • The doctor’s ability to listen when you talk and his openness to your questions. “Don’t be afraid to ask a doctor for his qualifications. If you don’t understand his explanation, ask him to clarify. Remember, you’re the one paying the bill,” says William L. Fisher author of How to Fight Cancer and Win.
  • The doctor’s commitment to your best interest. If you’re sick and require treatment, your doctor should explain all the treatment alternatives available. A good doctor will show you your options and then allow you to choose. If he rules out particular treatments, you deserve an explanation. He should suggest preventive measures, nutrition, and lifestyle changes, not just drugs.
  • The doctor’s willingness to work with other doctors. He may need to consult with someone else during your treatment, to ensure you get the best treatment. “Avoid a doctor with a competitive doctor-vs.-doctor ego mentality,” says Fisher.
  • The doctor’s willingness to stop treatments that aren’t working and consider other options. Remember, you’re not locked into a treatment that seems to be going nowhere. A good doctor will consider your perspectives on the effectiveness of treatments, but it’s important you understand just what your doctor considers ‘effective.’
  • The doctor’s people skills. Dr. Robert Mayer of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute wrote in the Harvard Medical School Health Letter that “rather than searching for the most overworked specialist they can find, many patients and families would do better to seek a doctor who relates well to his patients, who will act as an advocate and who can undertake the responsibility of coordinating all treatment efforts, including consultations with specialists.” Remember, a doctor who communicates well with you can be your lifeline.

Well there you have it. Taking time to find the right doctor for you is crucial if you want to get the best health care.

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