Whether you've recently moved, need a new physician or require a specialist, selecting a new doctor is one of the most important health decisions you'll make.
We asked members of our medical team what traits to look for when choosing a new physician, be it primary care or a specialist. Heres what traits they look for:
1. Takes time
Faster isn't always better. It takes time to listen, diagnose and prescribe the best treatment for a patient. A good doctor will ask a few more questions than needed and spend longer time with patients. During the first minutes of the visit, he or she may have an idea of what's wrong, but until you dig deeper and get a real understanding of the situation, you can't treat a patient to the best of your ability.
2. Well rested
You want your doctor to be well rested and alert. Sleep deprivation isn't a badge of honor. If he or shes constantly yawning, that may be a sign that you may want to look elsewhere.
3. Up-to-date on the latest research
A good doctor stays informed of the latest breakthroughs in the field and shares the knowledge with patients in language you can understand.
4. Doesn't judge or dismiss your concerns
You should be able to talk about sensitive topics, from weight gain to sexual health issues, that can affect your health without feeling judged. If you feel you're being criticized for your lifestyle choices or your concerns are being dismissed, look for someone else.
5. Easy to reach
You should be aware of your doctor's office hours and how you can reach him or her in the case of an emergency. Phone calls should be returned promptly and it should be easy to make appointments or cancellations.
6. Respects your time
When you make an appointment, you shouldn't have to wait a long time to be seen. There's always going to be some wait or times when an unforeseen emergency will arise, but your doctor shouldn't be constantly late or rush through appointments. Also, you should have enough time to ask questions so you understand your condition and care.
7. Sincere and empathetic
Everyone wants a doctor who genuinely cares so you and your family can share questions or concerns openly. Your doctors bedside manner should make you feel comfortable during appointments.
8. Actively Listens
You want someone who actively listens, attempts to understand you and how your condition affects you, and provides information in terms you can understand. Before you leave the exam room, your doctor should ask if you understood what was discussed and if not, clarifies the information.
9. Trust and comfort
These may be the two most important traits you'll want in a doctor. You want someone you feel comfortable with and can trust.
Knowing the qualities of a good doctor can help ensure that you and your family get the care you need without unnecessary worries.