Many people look for the closest doctor, the most recommended doctor, or the doctor with the best credentials. Thanks to Randy at Randal McCoy Insurance, he has found people who are looking for life insurance view doctors as interchangeable professionals who simply have varying degrees of experience and expertise. As such, the doctor who is best for one must be best for another. Unfortunately, in the world of medicine, there are many decisions which must be made based on opinion and interpretation, which means experience may not be the best determining factor in finding the right doctor for you. So to be sure you and your doctor are on the same page, here are 5 questions to ask.
What happens if you have an emergency after hours or while the doctor is unavailable? This is a question about the doctor’s practice, more than anything. But understanding what happens in emergency situations or in situations when the doctor isn’t available is important. Unless you are sure you will only need medical help during regular business hours when the doctor is available, it is important to understand what you are supposed to do and who will be helping you. If the doctor does not have a concrete plan, or if the backup plan is not to your liking, you may want to look elsewhere for a more prepared physician.
How often are patients referred to specialists? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but it will tell you how the doctor prefers to perform medicine. If a high percentage of patients are sent to specialists, it means the physician prefers to act on a high level then bring in others to fix a problem. The doctor may be less engaged in your specific treatment plan, but it could lead to better treatment if managed properly. If not, it could lead to a number of unnecessary procedures and tests. If it is a low percentage, then the doctor will be more engaged, you will have fewer tests, and your illnesses will have a very clear plan. But, you may miss the expertise of a specialist in some cases.
What is your opinion on antibiotics? Some doctors hand them out like candy every time you sneeze, others will only prescribe them when you’re practically on your deathbed Make sure your doctor and you are on the same page about the use of antibiotics and other medications. Whether you prefer to medicate early or only after every natural remedy has been tried, make sure your doctor knows and agrees.
What wellness practices do you follow? Here, you want to understand what your doctor does in his or her own life to be healthy. Do these activities match up with your own, or with the activities recommended to you?
What can I do to improve my health? This last one is extremely important in understanding how your doctor operates. You want to have a plan to better your health, and understanding what factors are important to your doctor will help in determining if your priorities are aligned. If you want to lower your cholesterol and lose weight by increasing activity and dieting, but your doctor is talking about joint medication, you may need to rethink this relationship.
Ultimately, there are many, many good doctors in this country, but they all have different opinions on healthcare. So the only way to see if you and your doctor are a good fit is to ask questions and understand their positions.