How to get the best care from your doctor

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Speak clearly and concisely when describing your symptoms. Though a physical exam and lab test may follow the first exam and often critical ingredient for an accurate diagnosis is how well you describe your symptoms. A good description reduces the risk misdiagnosis and helps you avoid needless diagnostic test and surgical procedures. Helpful: Prepare your spiel ahead of time in writing. If you wait until you’re half clothed in the office you may have a hard time expressing your thoughts clearly. Here’s for key issues!

  • When did the problem first appeared?
  • Where is it located? Be specific. “Pain in the temples” is better than “a headache.”
  • How does it feel? Is it stabbing pain? Throbbing? How often does it occur? How long does it last?

A more reliable way to find a good doctor is to get a recommendation from medical insider. If you know someone who works in a hospital or clinic that person probably knows the about the locals doctors which ones are good and more important which ones you should avoid. Once you’ve found a few prospects how do you narrow the field? Conventional wisdom says to interview each doctor until you find one you feel comfortable with. Many physicians will agree to brief get acquainted session. It’s not a bad idea. You may learn a bit about a doctor’s bedside manner and maybe even her medical philosophy. Ultimately though it’s not the doctor’s credentials or reputation or what she says that matters. What matters is how well she practices. Contrary to popular beliefs just about anyone can judge that. Start by reading up on any condition you’re diagnosed with and any drug you’re prescribed. The more you know the better your ability to assess doctors is spending enough time with you. A careful interview and a thorough physical exam are the foundation of good medical practice and they take time. So do explaining things and answering questions. Since clinics and HMOs are pressuring doctors to spend less time with their patients I believe the amount of time a doctors spends with you is the best single indication of how concerned she is with your welfare. A doctor who’s willing to buck the system to give you the time you need may also be more likely to go to bat for you if your insurer tries to deny you a needed service. The process of evaluating a doctor should be ongoing. There’s only so much you can find out about a doctor before your first appointment. Over time you’ll learn much more. It’s like choosing a job or a college. You make your best guess but you often don’t know what you’ve got till you’ve had it for a while.

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