Doctor Decisions: Choosing the Right Healthcare Providerby Elaine Plummer
People move - find new homes, new neighborhoods, new cities, new schools and new friends - and that can be all well and good. In fact, many people take all of that in stride and have a pretty good idea on how to proceed with a move in order to get settled in quickly and efficiently.
However, along with the relocation comes the very scary search for new doctors. It is particularly difficult when you’re leaving trusted health care providers who know your health history.
Because I am a nurse, I am often asked to recommend a physician for a particular specialty area. What I usually do, unless asked directly about my gynecologist, is offer tips on how to search for a doctor. The reality is that not everyone is going to like the same type of doctor, no matter the specialty.
For example, I was reading reviews online about one of my wonderful doctors and was surprised that some people wrote negative reviews because they felt he didn’t spend enough time talking. For me, he was perfect. I had a list of questions and he read through them and answered. That was enough for me, and I was ready to head out. However, I wasn’t looking for someone with soothing words or humor - just the facts.
Regardless, whatever your style, there are a series of articles on the Always.com about when to see a gynecologist, choosing a gynecologist and what to expect.
This is the approach the article recommends, with some additions from me, NurseElaine:
Start off by checking with your regular doctor for a recommendation. It's always reassuring to have one professional recommend another. Also, get online and read the reviews. Some comments there can be very helpful as you begin deciding whether this is a doctor you would want to team up with to manage your health.
Once you have some prospects, here are some things to keep in mind when making your choice.
- How long does it take to schedule an appointment for a non-routine visit?
- Where did he/she complete medical training?
- What hospitals is he/she affiliated with? This is especially important to know in case of emergency or if you are planning to become pregnant.
- Will nurses, nurse practitioners, or any other health care professionals be performing tests or examinations?
- What special training does the doctor have? Certain specialty training includes maternal/fetal medicine (care of high-risk pregnancies), reproductive endocrinology (hormonal disturbances, infertility and menopause), oncology (gynecological cancers) and urogynecology (urinary disturbances).
- Is he/she board certified?
- How long has he/she been in practice?
- Does he/she have specific times when they can be reached by phone? When are these?
- Does the staff ask for your records from your previous doctor?
- Does the office seem to run smoothly?
- Are there any educational materials or magazines available to read while you wait?
- Is the staff friendly and helpful?
- Is the office clean and well equipped?
- Can you go online and fill out the paperwork before even walking into the office.
Any other ideas on how to choose a new doctor?