If so, you may be stuck at the crossroads of having to choose a new doctor – and that may be a stressful and overwhelming decision. However, it is an important one, and must be done.
Here are some tips on how to choose the right doctor!
1) Do your homework! Research all of the doctors in your area. Use the Internet , library, and word-of-mouth references. Check out their credentials. If they’ve done a research paper or interview, read it. Consider what your condition is and which type of specialist might be best-suited to treat you. If you do not know, ask your primary care doctor or family physician for some references.
2) Call your insurance company! Some health insurance companies have customer service representatives whose job it is to give you a list of doctors names, numbers, and addresses. This can be quite helpful in narrowing it down.
3) Make appointments! See as many doctors and seek as many opinions as you are able to. Don’t be shy – let them know you are talking with other doctors, too, and ask what they can offer you that another physician cannot.
4) Consider distance! Remember that most doctor appointments require follow-ups, and so if you can avoid a long car ride, you may as well take advantage of that.
5.) Ask doctors to give your name to past or current patients! While they can’t give you the name/contact info of any of their patients, they are able to pass along your info to them and have them contact you. Then you can see what the experience was like based on the viewpoints of an actual patient.
7.) Gauge their bedside manner! While a pleasant personality is far from necessary for being a good doctor, it is nice. When you feel that a doctor actually cares and “gets” you, you will feel more comfortable with their medical advice. It is important to go to a doctor who you know is legitimately trying to help you.
8.) Be observant to the environment while you’re there! Biohazard containers overflowing? A bloody Band-Aid on the floor? Dust all over the waiting room? A nasty office staff? This may not be the type of doctors’ office that you want to visit.
9.) Make a pro-and-con list. Then, try rearranging your points from a double-negative view in order to see it from a new perspective. Ex: Dr. A has some advantages over Dr. B. Or, What disadvantage is there to not going to Dr. A over Dr. B? Will you have the same answer when the same question is phrased differently? Or, are you just driving yourself crazy with lists containing sometimes pointless pros and cons?
10.) Contact the Arthritis Foundation for a list of doctors in your area, especially those who specialize in arthritis.
Good luck, and here’s hoping you can make a decision! The good news about choosing a doctor is that, often times, you really can’t go wrong with so many capable, competent, caring, and cutting-edge doctors out there!
Thanks for reading, and please leave a comment!