Tips for choosing right family doctor

Published On: Oct 14 2011 04:41:28 PM EDT   Updated On: Jan 24 2011 04:47:43 AM EST
Girl getting vaccination from doctor

By Lilly Mantra, Contributing writer

While the task of finding a suitable family doctor may sound simplistic originally, it can actually become quite a grueling task. Let's face it. There are literally hundreds upon thousands of educationally sound physicians out there. However, how many of them actually are up the the rather large job of meeting everyone's needs within an entire family?

Because no two people are exactly alike in terms of taste, health standards, or even personalities, the chances of finding a well-balanced doctor that is appealing to everyone within a family can become quite a daunting task.

Where to begin? Sometimes when we look at an entire massive puzzle, we can become overwhelmed and rather anxious. Therefore, quite similarly to attacking a monstrous puzzle, one's best starting place in terms of finding a suitable family doctor, is to start with a good old fashioned list. Lists allow us to break our puzzles down into smaller pieces, evaluate our needs, record our preferences, and logically create some semblance of order when it comes to decision making. By creating a list of desirable qualities that would be appealing when attempting to find a family physician, one systematically designs a categorical list of expectations which will seek to guide them throughout their decision making process.

This list can be composed rather quickly and easily. By reviewing with one's self a simple list of 10 - yes, only 10 - topics to consider at the beginning of the entire "doctor finding process", not only can a great deal of time and effort be saved, but also an enormous amount of sanity! Most people find that by asking themselves simplistic questions such as the ones listed below, they are most successfully able to identify their own needs, and to arrive at a desirable end result in a very time productive manner.

Questions to ask:

1. Male or female: Which preference does your family have when it comes to a physician? Do you or your spouse have a preference when it comes to gender? How about your kids? Perhaps weigh the pros and cons of each.

2. Age: Are you looking for an experienced elderly physician, or someone newer to the field? Keep in mind that while wisdom is a virtue, retirement may be an issue for older doctors. Younger doctors may also be more technologically savvy.

3. Office hours: Make sure that the hours of operation are convenient for the needs of your family.

4.Communication: Do you want a doctor who is going to encourage healthy lifestyle choices, and inform your family members about their bodily changes? Perhaps you want a laid back physician who will not place pressure on anyone? Make sure that the communication level and comfort level are there when inter- viewing potential family physicians. Make sure that you feel comfortable with how a doctor presents situations, his or her level of empathy, and most importantly, his or her ability to communicate effectively.

5. Location: While you may find a great doctor that lives in East Jebip, how likely are you to actually use his services in the end? Make sure that distance is not a problem when selecting a family physician. This will ensure that you use his or her services when necessary and maintain a better state of health overall.

6. Reputation: It matters! Be quite sure that you are at ease with how other patients have felt about a physician's overall bedside manner, services, ethics, and morals. No one knows a doctor better than his or her own patients. Ask around and see what you fan find out. Better to arm yourself with knowledge than to get in with a new practice and then find that you hate it.

7. On-call services: Find out who covers for a doctor if they are unavailable to assist you. What is the back up plan? Are you comfortable with the protocol? Who is the on-call physician with whom you would then be interacting? Ask questions and get answers. It is your right as a patient to be informed.

8. Insurance: Make sure that your physician of choice accepts your insurance. Ultimately, this will save your entire family huge battles regarding reimbursements in the long run.

9. General Personality: When choosing a doctor, always make sure that you feel that it will be quite possible to maintain a comfortable relationship with him or her. Do not place yourself of your family in a position where discomfort could or would arise. Remember, you pay the doctor's bills, and also, his salary. It is more than okay to be particular and look for that ultimate click that lets you know you have found the perfect person for the job.

10. Views: Always talk to any potential physician about their views regarding things like prescription distribution and treatments for various illnesses or problems. Some physicians are highly aggressive in terms of writing prescriptions or running tests; others obtain a more conservative approach to healing. Also, it is important to find out if you prefer non-traditional treatments or those which are considered to be more traditional in nature. Ensure that you ultimately decide on a doctor that shares your own outlooks and those of your family.