Thad and I have been doing some shopping – mainly to turn a room in our home into his “Manetarium”, “Bunker”, “HQ”, “The Men Den”, “Zen Den”, “The Lodge”, “The Annex”, or “The Mantuary (Sanctuary)”. It has required immense research on the internet, and driving to furniture stores to decide exactly what he wanted in “his” room. And while it was fun picking out the furniture, it was painstaking to figure out what kind of furniture we wanted in the first place. Did we want a sofa bed so that we could still utilize it as a guest bedroom? Or did we want recliners? Should we get new bookshelves for his vast collection of Movie DVD’s or keep the old ones and design around them? Do we hang the TV on the wall or sit it on a media cabinet? Sometimes, it felt painful but now that its coming together we are excited at the prospect of a new room.
It got me thinking how it is with choosing a doctor. It required a lot of internet research into the doctor’s training, skills, specialty and practice. We spent time asking friends, family and associates as to why they like their doctor. And we had to decide what we wanted as a doctor in the long term.
Finding a husband or wife can seem a whole lot easier than finding the right doctor. Try to remember how hard you worked to find that special person. You find out all you can about your potential paramour through school, friends, neighbors, and church, and then you spend time together asking all the right questions and sharing mutual interests. You put forth an inordinate amount of time and energy.
It takes the same kind of dedication and time to find health-care providers who are suitable for you and your physical needs. Receiving good medical care can be a daunting task. Do not get discouraged.
The difference between finding a spouse and finding a good health-care professional is that as a patient, you are the consumer, and the health-care system and providers are a commodity. Do not forget that.
Below are six general guidelines to help you navigate this pursuit.
- Identify your ideal providers—Take some time to think about what you want most in a doctor. Trust, good communication skills, and availability should be at the top of your list. Do you want a female or male physician? Do you want this skilled professional to be a part of a large practice or a solo practice? What health insurance coverage does the doctor accept, and does he or she accept your insurance? Is the office convenient to where you live? Is the physician on staff at the hospital of your choice?
- Find those providers—Network with trusted friends, family members, work associates, and other people you trust, and ask them for recommendations. Also ask why they recommend those providers.
- Do some research—Once you have a list of possible candidates, call their offices. Pay attention to the way you are treated, and ask the following questions:
- What are the office hours? (Note how many days a week the office is open and how many locations there are.)
- What is the doctor’s specialty?
- At which hospitals does he or she have privileges? Does the hospital have a good reputation?
- As a patient, is it possible to call and speak with a doctor to ask a question?
- How far in advance do I have to make an appointment?
- What is the average wait time in the office?
- What is the average length of a visit with the doctor?
If the doctor is unavailable or out of town, is there a doctor on call or are is it their protocol to send you to the emergency room?
- You can check a doctor’s credentials by contacting the following:
- American Board of Medical Specialties (for doctors who are board-certified in a specialty)—866-275-2267 or www.abms.org.
- The American Medical Association website, AMA Physician Select, www.ama-assn.org/aps/amahg.htm
- Check to see if a doctor has a pending disciplinary action by contacting your state medical licensing board. Look on line, in your phone directory under the state government listings, or call directory assistance.
- Once you have done your research, make an appointment with the physician of your choice. During this office visit, pay attention to how the medical assistants and nurses treat you. If there is a delay in seeing the doctor, find out the reason for the delay: has your name been overlooked, have there been several emergencies that day, or is the physician delayed at the hospital or in surgery? During your visit with the physician, be sure to ask about his or her medical training, how the doctor became interested in that field of practice, and the manner in which the doctor listens and speaks to you. Notice how he or she maintains eye contact with you and whether he or she continues listening to you while entering data into the Electronic Medical Record).
- Finally, review all the information you have gathered. Does the doctor fit your needs? Do you feel that you and the physician can work together well in caring for your health needs? Do not be afraid to trust your instincts. You’ve done the research, and you’ve kept your records. You should feel confident in your decision.
Whether you are shopping for furniture, that special someone or a doctor, think about what you want and don’t want as your physician. Do your due diligence. You don’t want to end up with someone you can’t live with.
P.S. What would you call Thad’s Room? If we choose your choice, receive a free copy of my book Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It hurts.
Thank you for reading my post. If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it. Feel free to even re-blog – may these words take flight!
I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts. To order a copy or learn more go to my website at www.lorettaschoen.com
Blessings for Health & Wellness.