Your relationship with your doctor is important. In fact, it’s one of the most important relationships you’ll ever foster, so you’d better make sure you get it right. Your doctor plays a huge role in your health, happiness and quality of life, so they have to be someone you can trust implicitly. You shouldn’t take the decision lightly, so here’s a few things to get straight before you sign yourself up with just any old quack.
Can they meet all of my requirements?
Obviously, there’s no point in seeing someone who can’t help you. You wouldn’t call in a rat catcher if you had roaches, or an electrician if you needed your toilet fixed, and finding the right doctor is no different. Whether you need a chiropractor for back pain, a hepatologist for your liver or an ophthalmologist for eye problems, be sure you’re heading to the right place. If you don’t know what your problem is or just want a check-up, always visit a general practitioner first. Specialists can get pretty expensive, after all.
Are they someone I can truly count on?
Medical expertise aside, you have to be able to connect with your doctor on a basic human level. You’ll be telling them intimate details about your life, so it’s vital that you feel comfortable talking to them. If they seem disinterested, condescending or rushed during your first appointment, maybe it should also be your last. Are their qualifications clearly displayed? If not, are they happy to discuss them with you? Remember, you can always try looking them up before you meet them.
Is their practice up to scratch?
Never discount your first impressions. Keep an eye on everything throughout your initial visit to the clinic, starting from the moment you walk through the door. Note the level of cleanliness and organization on display. See how friendly and efficient the staff are in dealing with patients. Are the waiting lines too long? Is the bathroom easily accessible? If you have a condition that limits your mobility, can you get around the place okay? What condition is the equipment in, and is it right for your treatment? Leave no questions unanswered before committing to anything.
Have I taken all the factors into account?
Even if your doctor’s a saint and the clinic is a shining bastion of cutting-edge medicine, there’s still a couple more things to weigh up. For example, where is the practice located? It might be the best of its kind around, but that doesn’t help you much if it’s too far away to reach. If you can’t guarantee you’ll make your appointments on time, it’s better to look someplace else.
Another obvious one is the financial considerations. Medical services are just that: services. You’ve got to find a balance between quality and value, so never say yes to anything before you know you can afford it. Does your insurance cover this particular treatment? Are there any extra costs (such as further consultations or surgical materials) that might get sprung on you? Can Medicare or Medicaid offset some of the fees? Being a smart consumer is the first step towards being a healthy one.