Choosing your doctor can be a challenge. Even though you might have been going to the same doctor for years, there might be a time when you might ask
Is this the best doctor around?
Do I have better options?
The first step is to ask yourself
what you want in your doctor?
Your doctor be highly rated by a consumer or other group:
You will want to find out who did the ratings? Is the information reliable? Who collected it? Does the group have something to gain from the ratings?.
The doctor should have experience with your specific condition:
Research shows that doctors who have experience with a condition tend to have better success with the treatment.
Takes steps to prevent illness:
The doctor not only provides treatment for the illness; but also explains you why it occurred and gives you information on how to prevent further occurrences. For example asks you to quit smoking if you have stains on teeth because continuing smoking can have graver repercussions than stains.
Encourages you to ask questions:
Does not just give a dictate of the specific treatment that is required, but helps you understand why it is necessary. The doctor enables you to make a fully informed choice by the availability of high-quality, transparent information.
Listens to you:
Tries to understand your preferences and limitations and plans the treatment accordingly. Also is willing to understand your expectations from the treatment and is ready to either meet you expectations or explain why they cannot be attained.
Explains things clearly:
Explains about the issue you are facing. The cause and what will happen if you do not undergo treatment. Explains the treatment in detail and the pre and post treatment precautions required. The doctor also needs to explain why a certain diagnostic test is required to decide the best treatment plan possible for your situation.
Treats you with respect:
The doctor should be respectful to you as an equal. The doctor should also be respectful of your time and should not ask you to wait for extended periods when given an appointment or for consulting*
Once you have decided the doctor according to you needs Check on the quality of the doctor
There are several ways to check on their skills and knowledge, and the quality of care they provide
You can ask yourself the following questions.
Did the doctor…
Address the health problem I came with?
Ask my preferences about different kinds of treatments?
Give me a chance to ask questions?
Really listen to my questions?
Answer in terms I understood?
Ask me questions?
Make me feel comfortable?
Spend enough time with me?
Trust your own reactions when deciding whether this doctor is the right one for you.
Raising awareness is also important if more people are to be able to choose. Information and support for both patients and health professionals, is necessary in order to encourage people to discuss where to go for care and treatment.
Next on the series “Evaluating Services Through Feedback”
*References: your guide to choose quality healthcare, People in control of their own health and care