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Physicians: Tips on Choosing a Doctor
How to find a doctor who's right for you

Looking for a good primary care physician? Here are some tips on how to go about finding the best one for you.

1. Get some names. Check with medical professionals (nurses, dentists, pharmacists), friends and coworkers to find out whom they use. Ask as many questions as they'll answer:
  • Do you feel confident about his or her medical judgment?
  • Does your doctor listen when you tell what's wrong? Or do you feel rushed?
  • Does the doctor take enough time to explain your problem and treatment?
  • Is your doctor easy to talk to? Are you comfortable discussing small worries or embarrassing problems?
  • How long must you wait to get an appointment?
  • Can you reach the doctor by telephone and can you get simple advice over the phone?
  • 2. Compare credentials. Call the American Board of Medical Specialties (1-800-776-CERT) and ask if each of your candidates is certified by either the American Board of Family Medicine or the American Board of Internal Medicine. Board certification requires several years of advanced training after medical school, plus a tough certification exam and regular recertification testing.

    3. Whittle the list further by considering such things as the doctor's gender. Are you more comfortable with a male or female physician? How far away from your home or job is the office? What on-site facilities (lab, x-ray, etc.) do they have?

    4. Schedule a get-acquainted appointment and note the following (if that is not possible, ask the people you know who use the physician):
  • Is the office staff courteous and helpful?
  • Is the doctor on time? If not, are you told why?
  • Does the doctor seem warm, polite and attentive, or rushed and preoccupied?
  • Keep in mind that choosing a doctor is a very personal decision. The right one for you might be wrong for someone else, and vice-versa.

    For more information, call our physician finder representative, at 1-800-258-4677.
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