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4 tips for choosing a doctor

One of the most sacred bonds in our society is that between a doctor and patient. Your doctors see you at your most vulnerable, and you literally trust them with your life. A good doctor will bond with you and be a font of wisdom, but a bad doctor could cause you serious harm.

That’s why it’s so important to take time and consideration when choosing the person you want to be your physician. Use the following tips to help you find a doctor with whom you can building a trusting relationship.

1. Do your research

In the Information Age there are abundance of online resources you can use to research doctors. Start by going to your health insurance company’s website and find a list of doctors who accept your insurance. From there, go to sites like Angie’s List, Health Grades and the AMA DoctorFinder to see how others have rated their doctors.

But don’t rely on online reviews alone, talk to friends and family. Word of mouth can be one of your most powerful resources in finding a new physician.

2. Consider your needs

Know what kind of doctor you’re looking for. Pediatricians specialize in children’s medicine, while family-practice and general-practice doctors treat patients of all ages for a wide variety of ailments. Internal-medicine doctors usually treat adults and specialize in preventative medicine, chronic illness and more.

If you’re looking for a specialist, consider asking your other doctors for a referral.

3. Think about logistics

Factor in where the doctor’s office is located. Will it be easy for you to get to appointments? To which hospitals does the doctor have admitting rights? Is that hospital convenient in case of a hospitalization for a medical emergency? What languages does the doctor speak? Are you more comfortable speaking about medical terms in a language other than English? Does the doctor have X-rays and a lab on premises?

4. Shop around

No amount of online research or referrals from others can determine how you feel when you’re in the presence of a doctor. Go and feel him or her out. Bonding with your doctor is important, and if you don’t feel a connection with the doctor you chose, it’s OK to switch and find someone with whom you feel more comfortable.