When trying to get a handle on a medical issue, finding a doctor is easy. Finding the right one isn’t. Putting yourself in someone else’s hands is a challenge because you’re looking for the combination of smarts, training, and experience to give you top-rate care.
Shopping around for a doctor is important. A medical professional should be examined and evaluated thoroughly if you’re after long-term care. Finding the right doctor isn’t always as easy as going “click here” and finding a high-quality care provider.
You probably know how to buy a car better than how to find a doctor. So let me help you fix that.
First, let’s break down all the important things to consider when shopping for a doctor. You’ll want a primary care provider that acts as your go-to when you’re sick. This person needs to be well-connected, so they can send you to a specialist if necessary.
In other words, the primary care provider is the one you want to screen for thoroughly. They’re the ones you’ll be dealing with most often.
After that, ask yourself a few questions. How much does personality and bedside manner matter to you, versus experience and competence? You might think it makes no difference, but it does. More than a few patients find recovery a chore if they dislike the doctor’s behaviour.
You’ll want to be on the lookout for red flags, but treat them more like yellow traffic lights – slow down, but don’t stop.
One such flag is where the doctor did his residency, and where he went to medical school. You’ll want to check if the school is legitimate. You might consider the quality of the education as well, as some places have a reputation for producing inferior medical professionals.
If your doctor came from a less than reputable school, ask why he couldn’t get into one of the better ones. If he’s reluctant to answer, that’s a sign you should look elsewhere.
Check your doctor’s website, if he has one. It gives you a look at how he communicates, how honest and transparent he is. A good doctor never promises anything, because there’s always a chance that the patient is an edge case.
If you see the website, check around for things like papers he’s written or any credentials he displays.
However, don’t dismiss a doctor just because he doesn’t have a website. He might be too busy, or he might just not be very tech-savvy. These don’t reflect poorly on his medical abilities.
Gender might play a role. You could be more comfortable with a woman, for example. Female doctors tend to be better at basic preventive services, statistically speaking. On the other hand, male doctors are statistically better at inspiring confidence in patients.
Age is also a factor. An older doctor has more experience. However, younger ones are usually more comfortable with new technologies. If one or the other is more important to you, be sure to keep that in mind. For me, I prefer a younger primary care provider but an older specialist.