How to Choose a Doctor

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,424
    Dr. Christina Johns discusses how to choose a doctor.

    Dr. Christina Johns: Hi! I am Dr. Christina Johns and today we are going to be talking about how to pick the right doctor for you. This is a really important conversation that you need to have with yourself, so that you can make sure that you select the right health care provider who is going to meet your needs.

    First, you need to know yourself. Are you somebody who is an otherwise pretty healthy person or do you have complex medical issues? Are you somebody who really appreciate the efficiency of practice, where people are seen right on time, short visits, sweet get to the point and move on, or do you like to spend a lot of time with your physician talking about lots of personal issues? So does everybody else, so it doesn't bother you, if you are waiting for a very, very long time to see your practitioner. Those things are really, really important to consider. It's really not an issue of Gosh! Shall I found the smartest doctor? It's about finding the right fit.

    So one of the things that you want to think about is, what type of a practice are you interested in being a part of? Do you want to go to a solo practitioner or do you want to go to a group practice? What that means is, do you want to go to a physician where it's just that physician in the office or do you want to go to an office where there are several different providers? So you may see more than one physician or nurse practitioner or physician's assistant at any particular visit.

    That leads us to the next question which is, are you okay with having physician extenders as part of a group practice? Which means that there are nurse practitioners or physician's assistants, people other than physicians who are going to play the role of health care provider. There are goods and bads to each of those and it's just an important individual consideration to make. Are you interested in seeing someone who is a general practitioner? So an Internist or a Pediatrician; or do you want to see somebody who also has some sub-specialty training; or do you want to see a family practitioner? That means that you could not only see that physician yourself, but you could bring your kids too. All of those things are important to think about.

    You want to also understand very well, what is the network of physicians that your doctor belongs to? Does he or she knows the sub-specialist to whom he or she refers patients to? So that you will know, Oh Jesus! If I have a broken arm, I know exactly who my doctor will be sending me to. So what kind of a network is there?

    Also, you want to know specifically about the nuts and bolts about the practice. Do they have weekend hours, evening hours? Is that important to you or is it something that you need? That can be critical in selecting a practice. You want to know finally, are your doctor young or old; man or women; experienced counselor or not? But sometimes, new fresh thinking of someone who is just out of training can be a good thing too.

    All of these are so important, when selecting a physician. You want to try to think about it and put it all together, but ultimately what it comes down to is a gut reaction and do you trust this person. That's the critical element when you have found the right physician for you, you have found somebody that you trust, you like and you can have a partnership with. That's I think the best way, how to pick the best doctor for you. Good luck.