How to Find the Best Medical Doctor

By Lisabetta DiVita

When choosing a doctor, good credentials are essential. But, a positive bedside manner is just as important. Imagine yourself at a doctor's office. As you tell the physician your symptoms, he is typing notes on the computer and it is obvious he is not fully listening to you. When he summarizes your symptoms, many details are left out and you are unsure of his recommended treatment. This is not only frustrating, it can be hazardous to your health. When it comes to health care, choosing a doctor who is both competent and caring is vital. Here are a few steps on how to find doctor who is right for you.

List all the qualities you look for in a doctor. Divide the qualities into categories of most important, some importance, and least important. Record this in your notebook so you have a tangible list in hand.

Write down the name of all your previous doctors and place their names next to the qualities you listed. Check to see what qualities they are missing.

Check Internet sites like PatientsRightToKnow.org. These sites allow you to check credentials and previous malpractice suits within your respective state. Also, find sites that provide you with doctor reviews.

Ask your friends and family for recommendations as well as the names of doctors they do not recommend. Take notes and add this to the list you already started.

Check the phone book and make a list of doctors' offices you plan to visit.

Visit a site and ask specific questions of the doctor such as "How long do you spend with each patient?," "Can I contact you via phone or e-mail," "How do you break bad news?" and "Do you dictate (make a report of the visit) while the patient is in the room?" This will reveal the doctor's accessibility and bedside manner.

Observe the doctor's body language. Check to see if he or she is looking at you while talking. That reveals the doctor is engaged in conversation. Check to see if he or she shakes your hand upon entrance. This reveals warmth and friendliness.

Go to a different doctors' office and repeat steps 6 to7. Remember to be patient; doctor shopping is not an easy task.

Take notes after visiting each site, listing what you liked and what you did not like. After visiting all the sites, weigh each doctors pros and cons and determine which doctor best represents what you are looking for. Congratulations, you have found the best doctor for you.

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