5 Ways to Find the Best Doctor
Doctors Reveal Tips
Choosing a doctor is one of the most important things you will ever do in your life. You will trust this person for his/her expertise, advice and to administer treatment that may save your life.
That’s why it’s important to do as much research as you can to ensure that you find the right match. If you don't mesh with your current doctor, its time to find a new one; parting ways with a doctor you're unhappy with may be the healthiest thing you can do.
First, decide what type of primary care doctor you need. A primary care doctor is for everyday health problems like the flu.
- General Practitioner—treats a wide-range of medical problems in people of all ages.
- Family Practitioner—similar to general practitioners, but have extra training to care for all family members, young or old.
- internal Medicine—doctors for adults. Some internists take additional training to become specialists. For example, a cardiologist is an internist who specializes in heart disease.
- Geriatrician—doctors who care for older adults. A geriatrician is trained in family practice or internal medicine and has additional training in caring for older people.
- Pediatrician—specializes in caring for children.
Our doctors reveal their tips for finding the right physician for you.
- Ask around. People who found their physicians through someone they trusted—friend, family member or another doctor—had the most favorable experiences.
- A physician should be Board-Certified in their area of expertise. For a Family Physician, try the doctor finder section of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Board of Family Medicine or the American Medical Association’s find a doctor for a list of all physician specialties.
- Choose a hospital you like, then use their physician finder to view a list of doctors who meet your search criteria. Try the Northridge Hospital FREE Find-A-Doctor or phone line at 818-908-8677.
- Do a Goggle search with the physician’s name or something like “Northridge Doctor”. You can read other patients’ comments on the doctor by visiting one of the many sites that allow them to post comments and feedback about their doctor.
- Don't wait until you are sick to pick a doctor. Establish a patient- physician relationship now so that if you do have an unexpected injury or illness, you will have a partner in healthcare who can see you through the crisis. The American Medical Association's website has Physician Select tool that allows you to search information about the doctor.
Once you develop your list of potential doctors, call each one for more information. Some physicians even do “interview” appointments for prospective patients.
What tips do you have for finding a doctor?
Consider the following questions about the physician’s education:
- What medical school is the doctor a graduate of?
- Does the doctor have specialty training?
- Is the doctor Board-Certified and/or Fellowship-trained?
- How many years has the doctor been in practice? Consider the following questions about the physician’s practice:
- What health plans are accepted?
- Does this physician work with specialists you already plan to see?
- Do they offer convenient office hours?
- Is the office conveniently located?
- Is the staff courteous staff?
- Does the doctor accept patient phone calls?
- What is the length of time for scheduling appointments?
- Which hospital is the doctor affiliated with?
If you make an appointment to meet your physician, consider it an interview and observe is the doctor:
- Takes time to explain?
- Answers questions so you can understand?
What to Look for in a Hospital
“I chose to practice at Northridge Hospital because of the sophisticated technology, cutting-edge therapies, and quality of the staff and the 600 affiliated physicians.” M. Kevin Araini, Northridge Hospital Medical Staff President.
Just as important as finding the right primary physician is finding the right hospital. The Joint Commission offers the following tips for selecting a quality hospital.
- Is the hospital conveniently located? Can you and your family get there easily for scheduled as well as emergency medical care?
- Is the hospital accredited by The Joint Commission? This accreditation means the organization voluntarily sought accreditation and met national health and safety standards. The Joint Commission provides on-site surveys to review the hospital's medical and nursing care, physical condition, life safety program, special care units, pharmaceutical services, infection control procedures and a number of other areas affecting patient care.
- Does the hospital have a written description of its services and fees? What resources does the hospital provide to help you find financial assistance?
- Is the hospital clean? Visit the hospital and look around.
Questions About your Specific Needs
- Do the services and specialties provided by the hospital meet your specific medical needs? Do you have a medical condition requiring specialized attention? Your medical history and current medical condition may affect the type of hospital you choose.
- Does the hospital explain the patient's rights and responsibilities? Ask to see a copy of the hospital's patient rights and responsibilities information.