you are looking for in a doctor--A good first step is to make
a list of qualities that are important to you. Then, go back over
the list and decide which are most important and which are nice, but
possible doctors --After you have a general sense of what you
are looking for, ask friends and relatives, medical specialists, and
other health professionals for the names of doctors with whom they
have had good experiences. A doctor whose name comes up often may
be a strong possibility. Rather than just getting a name, ask about
the person's experiences. For example, say, "What do you like
about Dr. Smith?" It may be helpful to come up with a few names
to choose from, in case the doctor you select is not currently taking
reference sources--The Directory of Physicians in the United
States and the Official American Board of Medical Specialties
Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists are available
at many libraries. These references won't recommend individual doctors,
but they will provide a list to choose from. Doctors who are "board
certified" have had training after regular medical school and
have passed an exam certifying them as specialists in certain fields
of medicine. This includes the primary care fields of general internal
medicine, family medicine, and geriatrics. Board certification is
one way to tell about a doctor's expertise, but it doesn't address
the doctor's communication skills.
What are the doctor's office policies?
Is the doctor taking new patients?
What days/hours does the doctor see patients?
Does the doctor ever make house calls?
How far in advance do I have to make appointments?
What is the length of an average visit?
In case of an emergency, how fast can I see the doctor?
Who takes care of patients after hours or when the doctor