Creating a partnership between you and your doctor starts with choosing the physician who’s right for you. Seek out a doctor whose medical interests match your stage of life and any conditions you have or might be facing. Rate the doctor on the Four C’s: comfort, communication, chemistry and confidence in his or her expertise.
When choosing a physician you should know:
- Professional and personal credentials: Ask about education and training, board certification status, treatment philosophy, special interests and style – is the doctor friendly or formal?
- Hospital affiliations: If you need to be hospitalized, will you be close to home? Where will the doctor send you for routine tests?
- Partners: Will you always see the same physician? Who covers when he or she is unavailable?
- Office location(s) and hours: Are they convenient?
- Insurance: Does the doctor accept your plan?
- Communication skills: Does the doctor take time to actively listen? To ask thorough questions? To answer questions clearly?
- Office staff: Are they professional and courteous?
- Emergencies: If you have an urgent situation, will the doctor talk to you by phone in a timely fashion? Will you be seen the same day?
- Timeliness: How long does it take to get a phone call returned by the doctor?